One of the most common questions I receive is “when should I update my will?” The answer is it depends! Generally, there is no hard and fast rule that after x number of years you should update your will. The need to update your will is usually driven by changes in your family, changes in what you own, and changes in your wishes.
There are five life events that should trigger a call to your estate planning attorney: birth, death, marriage, divorce, and a move. If you or any of your beneficiaries experience these major life changes it may be time to take a look at your will. It is especially important to review your estate plan when you move to another state. Often, wills are drafted with contingencies and may not even require an update. On occasion, these life events will call for a change to your estate plan.
Another good time to call your estate planning attorney is when what you own changes. If you acquire a new asset, particularly real property, it is important to understand how that fits into your current plan. If your assets are significantly less than the last time you updated your estate plan you may wish to consider simplifying your estate plan.
Finally, any time your estate plan no longer reflects your current wishes you should update your will or trust. Do not wait until it is too late or you are no longer able to change your documents! If you are ever in doubt about whether you estate plan should be updated or not, do not hesitate to give your attorney a call.