Writing out your last will and testament in your thirties or forties is smart. You never know when or how you will pass away. However, if you live past a ripe old age, you may want to revisit that will a few more times to update it. Changes that are necessary to a will ensure that your heirs and your executor of your estate will be the right ones at the end.
Changes in Heirs
The biggest change in life involves your heirs. In your twenties and thirties, your heirs may be your spouse, your parents, your nieces and nephews, or any children you have. Spring ahead ten or fifteen years and that could look very different. Your parents may have passed away, you could be divorced, or maybe your children have decided to shun you.
You have to go back in to see your lawyer to change a major section of your will. Depending on who is still alive and who is still part of your life, you will need to make these alterations to reflect the correct assets going to the correct people. This could change again in another ten or twenty years, so you may have to do this again.
Another thing to consider is disinheriting people or disowning children. It does happen, and if you decide that one or more of your kids should not receive anything from your estate, you will need to write them out of your will. If you’re worried about writing them out because you might want to write them back in, it isn’t an issue. You can change your section on heirs and inheritance as often as you need to.
Changes in Assets
Maybe you write your will out initially because you have some assets or you have a lot of assets. As time goes on, you may lose all of those assets, or maybe your assets grow and you have a lot more to disperse. When there are changes in assets, you will need to change your will. People can amass a lot of wealth over several decades and then realize that all that they have amassed has not been assigned to any heir. That’s a major problem if you don’t see your lawyer and change your will to reflect that.
Changing Your Executor
An executor is someone you assign to handle your affairs of state after you pass away. It has to be someone you trust. A lot of people begin this process by assigning the executor position to a spouse. Then they realize that their spouse could pass away at the same time or pass away before them. They assign an adult child to the job. However, you may come to distrust the person you assign as executor. If that happens, it is vital that you change your will so that the right person becomes your executor when it’s time.
It is also possible to assign the executor position to your lawyer or law firm. However, a lawyer isn’t as close to you as a trusted family member or friend. Your lawyer might not know how to proceed if an unusual situation arises with your will after you’re gone. Lawyers generally will act as backup executors in the off-chance that those you would assign as executors to your estate have died or are unwilling to do the job.
Codicils and Changes to Codicils
Codicils are additions to a will. They are meant to explain very specific instructions either in the will or in addition to what the will already says. Some people might add a codicil to award something to someone that was particularly special to them, or they might have some unique guidelines for the dispersal of their estate. For example, they might add a codicil that stipulates that a video via email be sent out automatically when they have not logged into an account after a certain number of days.
If you have included any codicils in your will, you can change these too. Modifications to codicils are also called codicils, but the modification codicils are added into the will immediately following the codicils they are intended to modify. Discuss at length any special instructions you want to include in your will or any established trusts you want to make with your lawyer.