The foundation of your estate plan is your will. This legal document outlines how to distribute your assets to your beneficiaries after your death. Without a will, the court may decide how to distribute your assets.
According to Gallup, approximately 45% of adults in the U.S. currently have a will. If you fall into the category of Americans who have created a will, you should make sure that you update this important document periodically to make sure it accurately reflects your wishes.
Your marital status changes
When you get married or divorced, look over and change your will. If you get married, you may want your spouse to become one of your main beneficiaries. But if you get divorced, you likely want to remove your ex from your will.
Your family grows
If you bring a new child into your home either through birth or adoption, use this as an opportunity to update your will. Your will is where you should identify a legal guardian for any minor children you have who will take over if something ever happened to you.
Your wealth changes
Whether you receive an inheritance, sell a business or experience any other major change to your wealth, you should update your will. Coming into more money can affect which assets you need to distribute.
Although these life changes should all initiate updates to your will, it is a good idea to look over this document on a regular basis. Many professionals recommend taking out your will and reading it over about once a year or so.