If you have a valid will in place that sets out how your estate should be administered, you have already taken one of the most important steps towards protecting the best interests of your loved ones. But once you have set down your wishes and finalized your estate plan, it is crucial to update your will regularly, especially whenever you experience a significant change or milestone in your life.
The most important times to update your will
Any major life event can precipitate a change to your estate plan. Whether you have developed an interest in a specific cause or charity, changed professions or welcomed a new member of your family, there are any number of changes that should prompt a review, including:
- A change in marital status – If you have been recently married, are going through a separation or divorce, or if you have recently lost your spouse, your will needs to be revised.
- Changes regarding your dependents – If you are a new parent, congratulations! Amending your will to include your new child will ensure their needs are looked out for. If any dependents have passed the age of majority, you may also want to revisit any portions of your will that addressed their care and guardianship.
- Changes in the value of your property or assets – If your stock holdings fall, or your property appreciates significantly in value, the tax implications of your estate plan may change. Similarly, if you are considering disposing of a large asset, like your family home, speak to your lawyer about whether it could impact your will.
- Changes in tax or estate laws – Amendments and other changes to how estates are taxed can wreak havoc on a carefully planned will. Your estate lawyer keeps a close eye on these developments, and is the best person to speak to about whether any changes might impact your plans.
Options for updating your will or estate plan
Depending on the circumstances, you may choose to update an existing will by adding or deleting specific parts through an amending document called a codicil. If you only need to make minor changes, a codicil may be the best option. In other cases, it may be preferable to create an entirely new will to supersede any existing documents. A member of our estates practice group can help you decide the best course of action when you update your will.
Kitchener Waterloo lawyers offering will drafting and review services
At Duncan Linton LLP, we recommend that you check your will regularly with an experienced estates lawyer to ensure it continues to reflect your wishes. We can help make specific amendments after a big life event, or conduct a comprehensive review of your entire estate plan to make suggestions and recommendations.