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How often should we review and update our wills, living wills, and advance directives?

When you were just starting out and beginning to accumulate assets, thoughts of caring for your growing family’s future if you were suddenly gone likely developed. While in your twenties or thirties, you began to save, invest, and maybe even purchased a life insurance policy to protect your family’s financial future in the event of unfortunate circumstances.

living will

Some followed the very sage advice to create a will that designated how your family should be cared for and how the assets would be used.

And, in those early years, naming your children’s guardian in the event of your passing may have been the most important aspect of your early will.

Reviewing Your Last Will and Testament

However, your will is not something to create during midlife, put away, and then forget.

Fast forward from the time when you created that original will to now. Maybe you have reached the age of fifty or more. As you review that will, many elements may no longer be relevant while certain present circumstances were never anticipated. You come to realize that your will is no longer an expression of your true wishes.

Your children have grown and now have families. Your assets have also grown and have become far more diversified and complex.

Principal Milestones to Review Your Will

According to one Forbes report, experts recommend reviewing your will at least every five years or more frequently as certain changes occur.

  • Financial: Changes in Assets

As you progress through your career or in developing your business, your financial situation will likely change for the better, hopefully. Perhaps you have reached a time when assuring your children’s college education is no longer an issue. Maybe now you would like to help pay for your grandchildren’s further schooling.

Or, perhaps you have added a second home or other valuable assets that were not addressed in the original will. Perhaps you have inherited a substantial estate from your parents.

Or, maybe your wealth will allow you to leave gifts for important charities as well as to your heirs.  

  • Change in Relationships

An important time to review your will is following the death of your spouse, a divorce, and a remarriage. Other deaths in the family could also cause you to reprioritize among the remaining beneficiaries.

These significant life changes should trigger an automatic and immediate review of your will, ensuring that your designated list of beneficiaries is current to avoid potential legal issues, confusion, and heartbreak later.

  • Change in Location

If you have moved to another state, contact an experienced will and estate lawyer in your new location. Laws differ from place to place and you must ensure that your current will is compatible with the new state’s requirement.

This will be a great time to review your entire will to bring it up-to-date in all aspects.

  • Changing the Executor

Sometime a designated executor may no longer be capable of executing the wishes of your will, and a new one must be identified. You must make sure that your executor is always ready, willing, and able to perform the duties responsibly.

Review your selection regularly and make the changes with the help of your estate lawyer.

Make Your Wishes Current with an Experienced Wills and Estates Lawyer

In New Jersey, create, review, and update your will and estate plan with the experienced Law Offices of Nicholas A. Giuditta, Estate Lawyer and Planner. Located in Westfield NJ, the experienced and friendly professionals will help you make the adjustments that provide peace of mind and satisfaction that your wishes will be perfectly executed.

Have you experienced changes in your circumstances that require a review of your will and estate plan? Call Giuditta Law Offices for an appointment at 908.232.0099.