The language in a will is legally binding, regardless of whether your circumstances have changed. The last thing you want is an unintended result to occur because you did not amend your will. You could change your will many times after you initially sign it. If your life changes in certain key ways, you should change your will.
Here are some life events that would require you to change your will.
The Birth of a Child
Many people draft a will for the first time when they have a child. They want to both provide for the child and leave instructions about who would raise them if the parents are no longer here.
You must change your property distribution to reflect your child’s part if you already have a will. You could then designate a guardian who would raise the trial and oversee their property before they reached 18.
If you die during a divorce, your ex-spouse may have the right to your property. If you are thinking about getting divorced or have just begun the process, one of the first things you should do is change your will. Otherwise, there could be unintended consequences.
When you get divorced, your ex-spouse may not inherit the property if you do not change your will. Virginia law treats an ex-spouse as if they are predeceased when they are not removed from the will. Still, you would want to ensure that you have other heirs listed so the court would not apply intestacy laws.
Marriage of a Child
If your child has gotten married, you want to protect their inheritance if they get divorced in the future. If your child does not have a prenuptial agreement, you could even include trusts in the will to preserve the property.
Executors or Beneficiaries Die
If you have named someone as the executor of your estate and they pass away, it is crucial that you designate someone new to act as a beneficiary. Otherwise, you would lose control over who acts in this crucial capacity. You should change your will if the executor or the alternate passes away.
You should also change your will if any of the beneficiaries pass away. You may want to change the allocation of property or insert new beneficiaries in the place of the deceased one.
You should also amend your will if the person you have named your child’s guardian dies.
Your Financial Situation Changes
If you have come into a large amount of money, you should review your will to determine whether changes are necessary. You could choose to add new beneficiaries, such as a charity.
Your will is not a one-size-fits-all document, and you may want to change your estate plan entirely if you suddenly find yourself with far more assets.
Always Review Your Will Periodically and Get Legal Help
Even if there are no life events, reviewing your will and estate plan every three to five years is recommended to ensure that it reflects your current priorities. You will have peace of mind knowing your will is current and amended as necessary.
You should sit down with an experienced attorney to review the document. The attorney can help you execute an amendment to your will that would become effective when you sign it. This amendment is called a codicil. You would execute the codicil as opposed to making a change in the underlying will itself.
Call Our Virginia Beach Estate Lawyers at Anchor Legal Group, PLLC for Help With Estate Planning
If you have questions about your will, contact our Virginia Beach estate lawyers at Anchor Legal Group, PLLC. Call 757-LAW-0000 or complete our online form to schedule an initial consultation. Located in Virginia Beach, we work with clients in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, and Eastern Shore, Virginia.