Estate planning involves many moving parts, but one of the most important is your last will. Given the gravity and power of this document, it should always be as up-to-date as it can possibly be. Bearing this in mind, how often should you expect to make modifications?
Reviews and Checkups
Regardless of whether or not there’s been a significant changes in your estate or your family, taking a look at your will on a routine basis is wise. This is true even if major updates are not anticipated. It keeps the document and its contents fresh in your mind and will make it easier to be prompt and proactive about updates as your life develops. Generally speaking, reviewing it annually is often recommended, although this can vary based on individual circumstances. Taking a look at the end of a fiscal year may also be a good idea, and it’s especially important to perform a major review after you reach retirement age at 65.
Family and Asset Changes
There are more situations that call for a will update than you may think. Many pertain to changes in your family situation, such as separation or divorce, the birth or adoption of a child, the 18th birthday of a child, or the death of a current beneficiary. Others may relate to your assets themselves. If the value of your estate has significantly increased or decreased, if you’ve started a new business, or if there is a charitable organization you might consider leaving assets to, these are a few circumstances that call for an update. The same goes for relocation from one province, state, or country to another, considering regional variations in estate law.
In addition to internal family or financial changes, external developments could also prompt modifications to your will. More specifically, laws are prone to change with regards to inheritance, taxes, allocation of property in marriage, and other areas that are directly related to the planning of your estate. Staying informed on these is of the utmost importance. For instance, with the recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in the US, certain charitable donations outlined in a will may no longer provide tax deductions. Updating your will is not only a matter of knowing the circumstances of your family and finances, but also current events.
Your will is pivotal to your estate, but it’s only one component of our expertise. We offer a comprehensive suite of estate planning services that bear in mind not only your wealth, but also the complex personal needs and dynamics of your family. Call 1-833-266-6464 to learn more.