Your will should not be a document which you write once and never look at again. As life changes, so your will may need to reflect this.
Wills should be reviewed every three to four years, so that you ensure you have included, or in some instances excluded, benefactors. For instance, if a spouse dies or more grandchildren have been born, these are times to take another look at your will to make sure it is a true reflection of the legacy you want to leave.
Remember, your last will and testament is the legal document that has your final wishes. It is the instructions that will be left for your executor to carry out and really needs to accurately reflect what you have and who you want to leave it to.
There have been instances where an ex-spouse has forgotten to remove their former husband or wife from the will. This has resulted in shock and anger from children at an already stressful time and lengthy and costly court battles to rectify the situation.
If you have inherited money or assets, gone into or sold a business or your financial situation has drastically changed, these are times when you should review your will.
You may have inherited heirlooms from a family member since writing your original will and you may want to make sure you leave those precious family keepsakes are passed on to a member of your family.
It can also include such things as funeral arrangements including burial wishes, so it is important to get them on the will so there is no confusion.
A living will
The Public Trust website also advises that if your medical situation changes then it is a good time to consider a living will.
“A living will, also called an “advance directive”, states what medical care you should be given if you become physically or mentally unable to decide. You might want to make a living will saying you should or shouldn’t be resuscitated or that you want life support turned off in certain circumstances.
“Medical professionals can’t ignore an advance directive unless there are reasonable grounds to doubt its validity.”
It is relatively easy to update your will. Your lawyer or a Public Trust representative can assist you with this process.
Times when you should update your will:
- Change of marital status
- When your financial situation changes
- Your partner or spouse dies
- Your health changes
- Already-named benefactors have passed away
- The birth or adoption of a family member
- The acquisition or sale of a
- significant asset
- Children reach 18 years
- If you have come into an inheritance.