How often should I review or update my will?
Wills are drafted to last as long as you have no significant changes in your life or in your wishes.
You should review your will annually to ensure that you still want the people you have appointed as personal representatives, trustees and/or guardians, and that your existing property will still go to the people you had intended and in the manner you had intended.
This means that you may also need to review your beneficiary designations on retirement plans, life insurance and annuities with survivor benefits, bank account payable-on-death designations, brokerage account transfer-on-death designations, and any other benefits you can designate after your death.
You should also consider having your will reviewed if you have moved to a different state, however as long as the will was valid in your prior resident state then Florida law ensures your will is considered valid in Florida.
Lastly, if you drafted the will yourself with a form or had a non-lawyer draft the will, it is prudent to have an attorney review the will to ensure it is valid. You have not saved time or money if, after your death, your will is found to be invalid and your loved ones are left to argue or try to make things work as you had intended.
However, you usually only need to change your will if you wish to remove or change someone you had appointed or wish to remove or change a beneficiary. Also, if your assets or debts change significantly you may need to modify how your property is handled through the will. Occasionally tax laws can affect estate plans and create a reason for people to change their wills as well. You may wish to consult a tax professional prior to consulting with an attorney in these situations.
Just like a doctor’s checkup, review your will annually to assure yourself that all is still well.