When Do I Need to Update My Will?


When I began publishing this blog, an important goal was to educate the community on those issues my clients often raise, and this is definitely one of those:  When do I need to update my will?

This list is not all-inclusive, but includes some of the more common events that would require a review and possible revision of your estate planning documents (i.e. wills, trusts, financial power of attorney document(s) and/or health care directives):

1.   Birth of a child

2.   Marriage or Divorce

3.   Death of a beneficiary

4.   Significant change in personal wealth or purchase of a life insurance policy

5.   Change in applicable law (tax, trust, will, medical decision-making, etc)

6.   Moving from out-of-state

7.   Significant health issues of the testator (that is, the person who made the will) or a beneficiary, especially if it involves assisted living or skilled nursing care

8.   Desire to change your beneficiary(ies), executor (the person you name to carry out the terms of your will), or trustee (the person you name to carry out the terms of your trust)

9.  Change in a beneficiary(ies)’ status (e.g. divorce, debt, disability, and/or substance abuse problems of a beneficiary)

10.  Several (3 – 5) years have passed since you last reviewed your documents

Any time you review or change your will/trust, you should also review the beneficiary designations on accounts that pass outside your will. This might include life insurance policies, retirement accounts, joint accounts and TOD/POD (Transfer on Death/Payable on Death) accounts.

Finally, as noted, we recommend you review your documents every few years to be sure they still reflect your current wishes.

CAVEAT:  This web site and the information contained herein have been prepared for educational purposes only.  The information on this blog does not constitute legal advice, which would be dependent upon the specific circumstances of a particular case.  In addition, because the law can vary from state to state some information on this site may not be applicable to you.

Image © Lucian Milasan – Fotolia.com


About Sarah R. Watchko, Esq.

Sarah R. Watchko is an attorney practicing estate planning and elder law in Atlanta, Georgia

One response »

  1. Reblogged this on One Mediation and commented:
    Recently Divorced? Time to update your will…



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: