Remembering to update your will

Date: Feb 27, 2013

When people go about their estate planning, they think that it is done and dusted and they won't have to think about it again.

That is actually not the case, as a number of life-changing events will either nullify your existing will or the changes could mean your will does not reflect your wishes.

Either way, whenever a life-changing event occurs, it is important to think about whether your will needs to be updated or not.

Marriage is a big step in life and it is a fair assumption that you would want your spouse to be cared for if anything ever happened to you. As a result, if you have an existing will, this is the time to update it to reflect that you want your spouse to be the major beneficiary.

A will in contemplation is a good document to make if you are planning to get married overseas or are under the age of 18. A will for a minor does not become valid until the union is solidified, so it is a good way to be adequately covered.

Given that a marriage can also dissolve, spouses who are in a separated should update their will. If you die before you are legally divorced, but were not planning on getting back together, your ex-partner could end up with your estate.

While many people nominate multiple executors, if you only select a single person for the task - it can present a problem if that person dies. While you may be grieving for your friend or family member, think about the ramifications for your own state of affairs and contact your lawyer immediately.

Given the various changes to wills and estate laws that occur over the lifetime of your will, think about getting your lawyer to give it a once over occasionally. You want to be sure that your document is always valid to prevent any surprises for your family.

Having children is a momentous step and you want to be sure they are covered with a legal document. Not only should you appoint them as beneficiaries, you should also nominate a guardian who would take care of them in the event that you and your partner die.

You should also alter your will if your choice of guardian changes. Keep in mind, the circumstances of your child's potential guardian and assess whether they are still suitable for that role.

Talk to an experienced wills and estates lawyer with Craddock Murray Neumann.