Why is it important to have an updated will?

By Last Updated: May 16, 2023
Why is it important to have an updated will?

When was the last time you read through your will? Do you even recall whom you’ve named as the executor or guardian of your children? I’d argue that these are some of the most important decisions you’ll make in life and a good percentage of people either can’t remember whom they’ve selected or even worse, never had the documents drawn up in the first place. Keeping your will updated is important for several reasons:

Naming an Executor

The will appoints the executor who is responsible for the administration of your estate and its distribution. It’s not good enough to only name one person. You will need a successor and then another alternate. Review who you’ve named on a periodic basis. Is the person still living? That’s always something to consider when naming a parent or another member of an older generation. Is this person still an active member of your life and do you still like the person? Would he or she take the job seriously? Being an executor is not an honorary position, it’s a lot of work.

Naming a Guardian

This perhaps might be the decision which clients struggle with the most. Many young couples name their parents as guardians of their newborns however, as children age, so do the grandparents. Evaluate if the grandparents are still the best option to serve as guardians for teenagers. Think about where guardians live and if you would want your children to relocate. Again, you need to name successor guardians.

Distribution Intentions

Your will dictates how your assets flow at your death. Circumstances change and family dynamics change. Evaluate the provisions you’ve set up in your will and decide if everything still makes sense. If everything was going to pass outright to your beneficiaries, would you rather have a trust(s) in place if you are concerned about how they would react to sudden newfound wealth?

State of Residence

If you have relocated states since your will was created, it is good practice to have the will reviewed by a local attorney. State laws governing wills and estates can vary from state to state. Some aspects of your will may be affected by the laws of your new state, such as how your assets are distributed or how your estate is taxed.

Estate Taxes

As Congress routinely changes the estate tax laws, it is important to review and update your will to help minimize estate taxes and maximize the amount you will pass to your beneficiaries.

Updating your will on a routine basis can provide peace of mind and ensure that your assets and beneficiaries are taken care of in the manner you want after your death.

Have more questions? Contact Us

Missie Beach, CFP®, CDFA®
Senior Financial Advisor

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