Reviewing and Updating Your Will
June 14, 2023
Wills offer a simple and effective way to address several estate planning concerns. Using your will, you can leave detailed instructions about what should happen to your property, assets, and finances upon your death. However, as we all know, life can change in the blink of an eye. After creating your will, reviewing and updating it from time to time is crucial to reflect major life events. It’s important that the provisions in your will are always consistent with your current wishes.
Attorney Robert Taylor-Manning has devoted his career to guiding clients through the complex procedures involved in creating, reviewing, and updating wills. As a knowledgeable Washington State estate planning attorney, Robert is available to discuss your unique situation, enlighten you about when to update your will, and advise you about your legal options. The firm proudly serves clients across Kennewick, Centralia, Shelton, Olympia, Chehalis, Tumwater, Lacey, and the rest of Washington.
Updating Your Will
According to the 2023 Wills and Estate Planning Study by Caring.com, about 34.1% of U.S. adults have a will. Once you have drafted your will, you should also ensure that the instructions in the document are up-to-date. Essentially, you need to update your will frequently. This might be done yearly, every 3 or 5 years, or whenever you experience major life changes or achievements.
Furthermore, updating your will regularly can help ensure that the provisions of the will meet the current state and federal estate planning or tax laws. It’s incredibly important that your last will and testament is legal and valid in your state.
Anytime you want to review or update your will, you should hire a seasoned wills attorney for proper guidance. Your lawyer can help you understand the statutory requirements, guide you through the necessary steps, and ensure that the new changes and updates are reflected in the will.
When to Update Your Will
Here are some major life events, achievements, or changes that may cause you to review and update your will and other estate planning documents:
There are changes in your marital status—you were married, went through a divorce recently, or have remarried.
There is a new addition to your family, such as a new baby, grandchild, or successful adoption.
You have acquired or lost some assets and real property to be inherited in the will.
You lost a named beneficiary or heir.
You want to change designations in the will, such as guardians, executors, beneficiaries, or witnesses.
You are relocating to a new state.
You are starting a new business.
You changed your career or profession.
You lost your job.
You recently retired.
There are new changes to the estate planning or tax laws in your state.
Your minor children and grandchildren are now adults.
You experienced a massive increase or decrease in the value of your estate or assets.
You want to change your charity relationships, donations, and gifts.
If you need proper guidance to review and update your will, you need to speak with a trusted estate planning lawyer right away. Your attorney can help you make informed decisions.
Making a Change (Codicil) vs. Drafting a New Will
To update your will, you can make necessary adjustments to the instructions in the will by making a codicil or by creating a new will.
Making a Codicil
A codicil is an additional written document that may be used to change or explain the provisions of a will. The codicil can be a good choice if you only need to make minor adjustments. Most importantly, make sure that the codicil is rightly signed and witnessed, similar to your current will.
Creating a New Will
If you need to make major changes to your existing will, creating an entirely new will might be advisable. By making a new will, you can prevent confusion, estate disputes, or disagreements between your surviving family members after your death.
Whether you intend to make a codicil or draft a new will, the goal is to ensure that your present wishes are reflected in your estate plan. A reliable estate planning attorney can walk you through the legal procedures involved and ensure that the documents are properly drafted, signed, witnessed, and executed.
Take Your Future in Your Hands
One "last will" may not be enough to carry you through to the end. It is important that you review and update your will and other estate planning documents regularly or after any major life event. Attorney Robert Taylor-Manning is ready to advise and guide clients in legal matters of reviewing and updating wills.
Contact Northwest Elder Law Center today to schedule a simple case evaluation with a dedicated estate planning lawyer. Attorney Robert Taylor-Manning can offer you the advocacy and counsel you need to navigate crucial decisions when updating your will. The firm proudly serves clients across Washington, including Kennewick, Centralia, Shelton, Olympia, Chehalis, Tumwater, and Lacey.