If you are like many people, you probably have a will tucked away in a safe or another secure spot. Unfortunately, you may also be like most people in that your original will may now be outdated, especially if you have had various life changes take place over the years. If you’re curious as to why you should always have an updated will, here are some of the most important reasons.
Avoid Legal Challenges
When you die and leave behind a will that is outdated, there will undoubtedly be various legal challenges made by family members or others who feel they deserve a piece of the pie. Sadly, many families have been torn apart due to legal challenges involving wills. If you want to make sure your final wishes are carried out exactly as you want, keep your will updated.
If you now find yourself remarried after a divorce, have had a spouse recently pass away, or now have children and maybe even grandchildren as part of your life, it is vital that any wills you have created reflect these changes. If you don’t and something happens to you unexpectedly before changes are made, it is possible your new spouse or your children could be left out of inheriting your estate, which of course is not what you planned on after you’ve passed away.
If you have bought a new home or other real estate or various types of assets, always make sure your will is updated to include these changes. If you die without having certain assets mentioned in your will, this will not only leave everyone wondering who is entitled to those assets but also sets the stage for what may be a long and bitter legal battle among your loved ones.
What Happens to Your Assets Arent In Your Will?
Having a will is an essential part of planning for your future. After all, it’s the best way to make sure that your wishes are respected and that your assets are distributed as you would like them to be. But what happens if you don’t have a will? Here’s what you need to know about what happens to things that aren’t in your will.
If you die without a will or if you don’t include assets in your will, then your assets are subject to probate court. The court appoints someone—usually a family member—to be the executor of your estate and pay off any outstanding debts or taxes using the assets in the estate. The rest of the assets are divided according to state law, which is known as “intestacy” or “dying intestate.” This means that instead of deciding who gets what, the court decides who inherits what.
Who Are Intestate Laws Intended To Benefit?
Intestate laws are intended to benefit those closest to you. Generally speaking, this includes your spouse and children, but it can also include siblings, parents, or even more distant relatives depending on where you live. In some cases, if there aren’t any surviving family members with whom the assets can be shared then they might go into the state’s coffers or become part of an intestate succession fund for people with no living relatives.
Last but absolutely not least, you should always have an updated will that will let you take full advantage of any tax changes that may have come along since your last will was created. Since tax laws change almost every year, it is crucial that your will be amended as needed, especially if your wealth has increased significantly or if you may now be facing increased tax liabilities.
Changes in Family Structure
Families go through changes over time, like marriages, divorces, births, adoptions, etc. It’s essential that these changes are reflected in your will so that everyone knows who should get what when the time comes for them to receive it. Not updating your will can lead to confusion and conflict among family members about where things should go — which is something no one wants during an already difficult time.
The laws regarding estate planning also change over time — making it important to consult with an attorney who specializes in this area regularly. This way they can help make sure your estate plan still meets all legal requirements in terms of its structure and language. It’s best not to try tackling this on your own as there are many complicated regulations that need to be followed when creating an estate plan — so make sure you have someone knowledgeable helping you out!
When wills are not updated as needed, problems always ensue. Rather than have your family and friends fighting it out in court over who gets what after you die, give yourself and your loved one’s peace of mind by updating your will as soon as possible.