How to write a will and when to update it

| Apr 30, 2021 | Elder Law & Estate Planning

Having a will is beneficial for many reasons. It gives clear instructions as to where your property, cash and other assets will go when you die; it outlines a plan for other personal matters and it is inexpensive to do.

When writing a will, include all important aspects of what will happen after you die. You should also review it regularly or when there is a significant life change.

What to include in a will

According to U.S. News and World Report, one of the first things you should do is sit down and write a list of all your current assets and then name the beneficiaries you want them to go to. Be realistic when choosing the beneficiaries and be clear about how you want to distribute assets.

If you have minor children, name a guardian for them. This is the person you want to take over their care and wellbeing. It helps to name a backup guardian in the event your first pick cannot do it.

You should also name an executor, which is the person or organization that will carry out the instructions of your will. If you do not name someone, the judge will after your death.

When to change your will

More than likely, you will experience major life changes after you compose the original will. FindLaw recommends reviewing your will before or shortly after a significant life event or every three to five years. If you write the will in your younger years, you may need to change it after marriage or after the birth of each child.

If you have a number of years behind you when you first write the will, some life changes that warrant an update include divorce, remarriage, the death of a named beneficiary, the addition of significant assets and when your minor children become adults.

When changing your will, revoke the last one and obtain new witness signatures.