- Date : 24/02/2021
- Read: 5 mins
Here are the situations where you should update your will so that your assets are divided as per your wish.
The passage of time brings inevitable changes to our way of life both in the personal and professional sphere. These changes often require one to make certain adjustments. One of the most significant adjustments you must make in your lifetime is revisiting and refreshing your will. This is because the changing circumstances of your life will need to be reflected in how you plan for the future to avoid the chances of legal contentions. Here are 8 scenarios where you should consider changing your will.
1. Getting married
Once you are married, you must include your spouse’s name in your will as soon as possible. The law normally allows your estate to pass to your spouse in the event of your death, but there are chances of legal challenges in the transfer as other family members can make a claim. Updating your will ensures that your spouse won’t have to go through unnecessary legal trouble in your absence.
In some communities (such as Parsis and Christians), a will made before marriage is not considered valid post-marriage, unless the individual expresses his intention to get married and mentions it in the will.
2. Getting divorced
In case of a divorce, your former spouse will retain their right to your assets unless you revise your will after separation. When you’re making alterations to your will, make sure that you change the nomination details in your life insurance policies and bank accounts so that the beneficiaries of the will and the nominees are the same.
3. Having a child or grandchild
Many people draw up a will after their first child is born. Be sure to include the name of your child in the will, and appoint a guardian who will serve as a custodian of your property until your child comes of age. Your will should be flexible enough to account for the possible birth of future children or grandchildren.
While appointing a guardian, it would be wise to state all the roles, duties, and limitations expected of the guardian to avoid future complications.
4. Children becoming legal adults
Once your child turns 18, they are legally adult and don’t require a guardian to take care of them in your absence. Therefore, you can alter your will to give your kids the status of full-fledged beneficiaries. You can also include the gifts or items you want to leave to them, or update the distribution of assets among your children if you have more than one and haven’t updated your will to reflect all your children as beneficiaries.
5. Purchase or sale of assets
Over the years, you may have increased your wealth by way of investing, purchasing assets, or selling some of them according to requirements and circumstances. Some of these could include moving to a new and bigger house, buying a piece of land, selling an old car, or making windfall gains from investments.
These changes should be recorded in your will. After all, it can be quite confusing for your heirs to discover that you have left them assets that you don’t even own any more, or to not find assets that they know you own in the will. Also, specify the proportion in which your wealth and immovable assets will be distributed among the beneficiaries to avoid legal complications.
6. Death of beneficiary
If one of your legal heirs or beneficiaries predeceases you, you need to update your will and provide for a new beneficiary, or reallocate the percentage of the estate to the existing beneficiaries. To be prepared for such a scenario, it is advised to have a list of alternative beneficiaries, guardians, and executors for your original will. In case all the beneficiaries predecease you, provisions should be made in the will to distribute your assets to charity, other family members, or friends.
7. Change in value of estate
The value of your estate and other investments may have increased over the years, and this calls for revising your will to reduce the chances of any disputes among your beneficiaries. Therefore, revalue your assets as per the current market rates to make the necessary amendments to your will and make it more realistic.
8. Change in mind
When you first created a will, you would have drafted it according to the prevailing conditions and equations with your family members. But over time, your preferences and attachments could have changed, and it is important to update your will to reflect your present mindset. For example, you may want to donate a significant part of your wealth to charity, reallocate your assets, add a new beneficiary, or remove a beneficiary who you do not get along with anymore.
Once you have decided on the new formula for wealth redistribution, you should make the necessary amendments to your will without wasting time. This will ensure that you have peace of mind and to ensure that your legacy and assets are carried forward incident-free.
The importance of having an up-to-date will cannot be overstated. A properly drafted and legally valid will is the only way to ensure that your hard-earned money and possessions go to the right people who care about you, as per your wish. Therefore, to make your will effective and legally valid, be sure to avoid the following mistakes:
- Not making timely revisions to your will
- Not registering your updated will
- Storing copies of past wills