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  • Northern Virginia Trusts & Estates

Does Your Will Change When Your Life Changes?

You’ve finally gotten around to drawing up your will.

Great!

And with a will under your belt, you may think you’re done with the estate planning part of life.

But not so fast.

Wills and estate plans, by nature, aren’t designed to be finite. They’re fluid.

Just as you likely review your investments, your financial plan, and even your bills regularly for necessary changes 一 you should review your will, especially in the midst of life changes.

Read on to learn 6 common life changes that warrant a change to your will and estate plan as soon as they happen.

#1 – You Get Married or Remarried

Whether you’re getting married for the first time or remarrying, it’s important to update your will and estate planning documents to reflect your marital status and name your spouse as your new beneficiary. This can help avoid a difficult situation in the event that you pass away and your new spouse isn’t considered your legal beneficiary. It can also help you avoid an even more difficult one where your ex-spouse may still legally be known as your next of kin and stands to inherit your assets.

#2 – You’re Getting Divorced or Thinking About It

Similar to getting married or remarrying, if you’ve gotten divorced or you are thinking about it, it’s in your best interest to update your will. If you don’t wish to leave your assets to your ex-spouse or soon-to-be ex-spouse, this is an important change to make to protect your assets. An update to your will ensures they pass to your rightful and most appropriate next of kin.

#3 – You Have a Child

Having a child is a natural trigger for updating your will and estate plan – and sometimes even creating one. With this change, the most important update to be made in your will is naming a guardian and trustee for your child in the event that both you and your spouse pass away. This document is called a guardianship and a trust will. It enables you to name a guardian who will care for your child or children as well as a trustee who will safeguard your assets until your child comes of age.

#4 – Your Beneficiary Dies

In your will, you might have named one beneficiary or a few and you’ve named an executor. In the event that any of these named people die, you should update your named executor and beneficiaries. In certain cases, when you’ve passed away and your beneficiary has died, your assets may pass to the beneficiary’s next of kin. This may or may not be in your wishes, but to be sure, make a point to update beneficiaries to keep your will current.

#5 – Your Child or Children Become Adults

When your child or children were small, you likely named your spouse or an adult family member as trustee. The trustee would oversee your assets, and you would also name a guardian who would care for or arrange for the care of your child or children. When your child or any of your children reach adulthood, you may want to update your will to remove the trustee. That is, of course, assuming they are up to the task of inheriting & managing your assets.

#6 – You’ve Moved Out of State or Moved Abroad

While there is reciprocity of wills in all states, it wouldn’t hurt to consult a local estate planner to confirm no additional changes are needed. In the event you move abroad, it’s also important that you confirm the validity of your will in your new place of residence. You likely also want to seek out legal help in your new country to update your will under foreign estate law.

We’ll Help You Keep Your Will Up To Date Throughout Any Life Change

At NOVA Trust and Estates, we’re here to advise you and guide you through the important task of drawing up your estate plan. This includes helping you update it as your life changes and as your needs change. Give us a call at 703.938.3510 or contact us for your free consultation on your personal & affordable Virginia estate plan today.

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