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When you make your last will and testament, you do so based on your current situation. Situations can change though with marriage, divorce, new children and grandchildren. When big changes happen to your family, it’s time to think about updating a will.
Changes to your marital situation are one of the most common reasons for changing a will. If you get married, you will likely want to create a new will including your spouse. Most states automatically give a portion of your estate to your spouse whether you include him or her in your will or not, but you will likely want to decide for yourself what you want to leave your spouse.
You may want to write a will choosing what to give your common law spouse yourself.
If you divorce, you will also want to change your will. Lastly, if your spouse passes away, you should create a new will choosing other beneficiaries for your estate.
It is better to create a new will if you have a new child or grandchild you would like to leave something to. If you have a new baby, you will want a new will so that you can name a guardian for that child, should you die while your child is a minor. Stepchildren do not automatically inherit from a stepparent, so if you become a stepparent and would like to leave something to a stepchild you’ll need to revise your will.
There are other situations that should prompt you to revise a will. Should any of your beneficiaries pass away, the will should be revised. If your executor dies, you should also update your will. If there is a change in your financial situation it is a good idea to review your will. For example, your will might leave your home to your daughter, but if you have sold that home and now live in rental unit, your daughter stands to inherit nothing unless you update it. If you obtain unique or valuable new assets (such as meaningful jewelry or a valuable painting) you may wish to update your will to leave the item to a specific person.
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