Do you have a will, and if so, when was the last time you checked it to make sure it’s up to date?
If you can’t remember the last time you looked at your will, it’s probably time to update it – here are some reasons why.
If you still don’t have a will…
Our previous blog posts have already covered the importance of drawing up a last will and testament – this is one of the most important legal documents you will ever sign, yet many people still haven’t gotten around to drafting one. If you still don’t have a will, make sure you draft one as soon as possible to protect your dependents’ financial future.
Why your will needs updating
Many people approach their lawyers or financial advisors for help after the death of a loved one, because the assets promised to them by a relative were not noted in the will of the deceased.
Unfortunately, it’s often too late to do anything about the situation at that stage, because the will either doesn’t mention the asset or the asset has been left to someone else. In some cases, the asset has been sold without the dependent’s knowledge – many people have found themselves in financial difficulty because they were “relying on their inheritance” to plug a hole in their net worth.
To prevent this situation with your own dependents, it’s important to review your will on a regular basis and ensure that it is up to date. In other words, this will make sure that everything mentioned in your will exists and is still yours, and your will should be clear on “who gets what” when you pass away one day.
Updating your will
Ideally, you should read through your will whenever you buy or sell something that’s included in your estate – or whenever you decide what to leave your beneficiaries. Pay special attention to the following:
- Properties – Make sure that your primary property and any secondary properties, including holiday homes or rental properties, are accounted for in your will.
- Investments – It’s essential to keep track of all your investments and specify in your will exactly what should become of them when you pass away. Remember to include policy numbers in your will and keep a file of all your current investments for easy reference.
- Smaller Items – Countless arguments have broken out in families following the death of a loved one because more than one person was “promised” the same heirloom or antique by their parent or grandparent. To make matters easier, your will should specify exactly what items should be left to whom. Better yet, if you’re not using the item in your old age, you may want to give these items to your relatives while you’re still alive.