A simple will allows a person to decide how their assets are to be distributed after their death. However, a will is not a fixed document. It must be regularly updated to reflect your current relationships, assets, and income. Here’s what you should know about updating this document.
Life Events That Require a Will Update
Your will needs to account for the reality of your life in the present moment. A person who has recently gotten married should include their new spouse in their will. Conversely, someone who has just gotten divorced or become widowed will likely want to remove their spouse from their estate planning arrangements.
Other familial changes that usually require a revisiting of one's will include a new baby, the death of a parent, grandparent, or sibling, and the adoption or passing of a beloved pet.
Also, consider your finances. If you’re expecting a notable increase in income, such as a job promotion or a recent inheritance, update your will to account for this larger estate. If you experience a financial setback that reduces the money in your estate, a will should contain the correct numbers to avoid confusion later.
The major assets you currently own should be a part of your will as well. If you purchased or sold a home, vehicle, or other high-value items like jewelry or artwork, make certain your will includes the appropriate provisions.
How to Update a Will
There are two main ways to make changes to a will. One is to add a codicil, a written document which details the necessary updates and is attached to your original will. You can revoke or add specific bequests and remove or include individual beneficiaries.
The other option is to rewrite a simple will. This involves making the needed amendments and printing a copy of the new document. In the new will, include a clear statement that revokes any prior wills or codicils that you’re replacing with this version.
When you need to update a simple will, We the People of NY can help. Since 2006, they have been providing New York City with legal document preparation services. They draw up standard and living wills, prenuptial agreements, simple divorce papers, and bankruptcy filings. Call (212) 633-2200 or visit them online to schedule an appointment.