What life events should make me review my beneficiary designations and revise my will?

Things change. What was true in your life three years ago or even last year may not be now, and your will should reflect those changes. It needs to address your current family and financial situation, so your loved ones and property are protected.

Here are some major life events that should motivate you to re-examine, re-evaluate, and re-write your will:

  • You get married. A spouse is usually entitled to a certain percentage of your property and assets after you die. If you want a different arrangement, you need to see a lawyer and address this in your will.   
  • You get divorced. Because a divorce changes the framework of your family, you want to make changes to your will that reflect it. If your spouse was the executor of your will or the main beneficiary, you may want to change that. Also, you might remove or add properties and assets that were part of the divorce settlement.
  • You have or adopt a baby. You may want to add this child to your will as a beneficiary. You may also want to name the child’s legal guardian.
  • You re-marry and have stepchildren. In most cases, stepchildren have no legal right to inherit from you unless you adopt them. Without an update to your will, you won’t be able to leave them property or assets.

If the changes in your life fit into these categories, it’s important to update your will to reflect them. You want the security of knowing that your wishes are stated in legal documents that are current and up to date should anything happen to you.

Because you want your estate plan to fully reflect your expectations, it’s important to work with an estate planning attorney who is experienced and skilled to help with your individual and specific financial situation. If you’ve experienced a significant life change, call the law office of James F. Roberts and Associates at 714-459-5481 to see if we can help you with your estate plan.