A will is often the cornerstone of an estate plan. If you have written a will, you have a right to be proud of yourself. Not many in Iowa take the time to provide for their families in this way. A will can include more than just who gets which of your assets. You can use your will to name the executor of your estate, designate a guardian of your children and leave any special instructions for your loved ones.
Once you have signed your will and determined the safest and most accessible place to keep it, you may think you can check that task off your to-do list and never have to think of it again. However, as your life goes on, things may change. What was relevant to your life and estate at one age may be obsolete at another. This is why you must think of your will as a fluid document that requires periodic review and maintenance.
When is a good time to revise your will?
Things would be boring if not for the changes that occur with each season of life. Nevertheless, when major changes come along, they can fill your time, and it may be difficult to remember that these new circumstances call for a fresh look at your will. Some common reasons to revise a will include these:
- Getting married: You will want to add your spouse as a beneficiary as well as adding any new assets you acquire jointly.
- Getting a divorce: This will mean removing your spouse and any of your spouse's relatives who play an important role in your will.
- Having children: In addition to providing for your children as heirs to your estate, you can use your will to name a guardian if you should die while the children are still minors.
- Remarrying: Your will can protect your biological children's inheritance since Iowa law passes your estate to your current spouse.
- Losing a loved one: When someone named in your will passes away, those assets may not go where you would wish unless you revise your beneficiaries.
Something as simple as buying or selling your home, starting or closing a business, or experiencing a major fluctuation in your investments can make a difference in the contents of your will. Many advisors recommend examining your will annually and consulting with your attorney frequently as tax laws change and new options arise that may be suitable for your estate planning needs.