Most people in Maryland haven’t created any will at all yet. According to AARP, only 40% of Americans have written their first will. However, writing a will isn’t a single-step process. Your will should be reviewed and updated from time to time as circumstances in your life change.
How often should your will be updated?
Since everyone’s estate planning needs are different, there is no exact answer to how often you should update your will. Some financial advisors recommend updating a will every three to five years, but a uniform time frame like this doesn’t take individual circumstances into account. If you have a major change in your life, you should update your will no matter how much time has passed since your last version.
Signs you should update your will
Whenever there is a change in your family situation, you should update the beneficiaries in your will. If you get married, get divorced or have a new child, these are all signs to update your will. Another time you’ll need to update your will is if a beneficiary you listed in your will dies.
You should also update your will if you have had a significant change in your financial situation. If you receive a financial windfall, start a business or acquire new real estate, you should update your will to include these assets. You may also update your will if you decide to include a charity in your list of beneficiaries.
Changes to estate planning or tax laws
Sometimes, changes in the legal landscape can trigger the need to update your will. If there is a change to tax law, you may be able to alter your will to take advantage of some tax savings for your beneficiaries. Another good time to update your will is when you move to a different state, since probate laws may be different.