If you already have a will, you are doing better than most. In fact, nearly 70% of Americans have not taken the steps to draft even a simple estate planning document. Still, your will may not do you much good if it is not current.
Regularly reviewing your will to ensure it continues to comport with your wishes is a good idea. Nevertheless, after certain events, it is critical to update your estate plan. Here are four signs you need to rework your existing will.
1. You have new assets
You may have written your will when you had fewer assets than you currently do. If so, your will may not provide the sort of clarity you seek. After acquiring new property, additional assets or an inheritance, you must be certain your will directs what happens to everything you now own.
2. You have fewer assets
With some hard work and a bit of luck, your assets are apt to grow over time. Still, it is possible to lose personal wealth. If you have fewer assets now than when you drafted your will, you may need to rework the document to better provide for your loved ones.
3. You have different relationships
You likely do not want your will to send assets to individuals who are no longer in your life. Likewise, you want your estate plan to provide for those who mean the most to you. If you have a new partner, children or friends your current will does not address, you probably want to act quickly to rewrite it.
4. Tax law has changed
Federal, state and local tax laws change all the time. While many changes are minor or technical, others have dramatic consequences for your estate plan. If you have not updated your will to protect your assets, your estate or your heirs may have a high tax burden.
While taking advantage of tax benefits and compensating for tax consequences is an integral part of estate planning, an outdated will may be problematic for a few other reasons. Therefore, if something meaningful has changed, it is likely time to rethink your will.