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6 Times in Life When You Should Redo Your Will

By Arkady Bukh

How will you be enjoying Father’s Day? No matter what you’ll be doing, you’ll most likely be with your family and loved ones. That’s why, Father’s Day is a perfect time and can serve as an annual reminder to make sure your will is updated and current.

And if you do have a will, then congratulations! That’s an accomplishment that most parents haven’t experienced. Actually, 70 percent of Americans with minor children simply don’t have one, according to a Rocket Lawyer survey.

So why should you want to keep your will up-to-date? A quick online search will show you hundreds of reasons to revise, but they all boil down to seven basic reasons, which are:

1. Family Changes

Life is packed with major life events that can bring new people into your life through births, adoptions, and marriages. Other life changes may include births of grandchildren, nieces, and the children of friends. Any number of people may have walked into (and out of) your life since your will was initially drafted.

2. Asset Changes

If your estate has increased or decreased in value, it’s time to look at your will. Maybe you’ve bought a major asset or even started a business. New insurance policies or pension plans may also impact whom you name as beneficiaries.

3. Residence Changes

Have you moved since you drafted your will? Your new place, especially if it’s out of state, may invalidate your will. State laws covering wills vary and it’s not wise to assume that the old will meets the new state’s requirements.

4. Tax Law Changes

Legislators are constantly changing state and federal tax laws. Some of those changes may affect your estate plan, so staying informed and consulting a tax attorney are your best bets.

5. Health Changes

Getting a diagnosis of a terminal illness or degenerative disease can throw a family into chaos. During the rare, calm, moments, it may be time to get the estate in order. A health scare can serve as a reminder to update your will.

6. Estate Changes

When you buy a home, you make a change to the value of your estate. Changes in the value may affect beneficiaries. An annual review of your will can help ensure that it accurately reflects the current value and that your beneficiaries are provided for.

Why should you want to keep your will up to date? That will, like your car, needs regular maintenance to keep working correctly. As life circumstances change, your will should change to mirror life changes. Without one, the courts can decide what happens to your assets.

Arkady Bukh is a high-profile American criminal defense attorney and a founding partner in Law Offices of Bukh & Associates in New York City. As a criminal defense attorney, Bukh represents individuals and closely held businesses, and maintains an extensive practice in criminal law, family law, and different aspects of civil law. Bukh also practices in the areas of international complex litigation, white collar criminal defense, international estate planning, as well as second citizenship and residence planning. Bukh is a frequent commentator on news and talk shows on CBS News, CNN, Fox News, and other networks.

One Comment

  1. abby travers says:

    A lot of these reasons to change a will seem quite common. My children and I have moved a few times and I didn’t update the will to reflect that. It could really be a bad thing if I don’t update my will to incorporate where I am currently living. When I move, it is apparently a good idea to check on each state’s rules about wills and estates.