When to Update Your Will

Aug 22, 2019


You have done the responsible task of creating a will. Now you don’t have to worry about what happens if you die without a will. However, years go by, love ones pass away, and situations change. After any major life event, it is wise to review your will and make sure that everything is still being handled the way you want it to be. Below are examples of major life events that could have an impact on the validity of your last will and testament.


You will want to include your new spouse in your will. Wisconsin is a community property state which means that your spouse is entitled to an undivided one-half interest in all marital property. Most people leave their property to their surviving spouse. However, if it is a second marriage and there are children from a previous relationship, you may choose to divide your assets differently.


If you created a will when you were still married, you will want to make a new will. In Wisconsin, according to Wis. Stat. § 854.15, your prior last will is invalid if it gives part or all of your estate to your former spouse. This prevents your property from going to your ex-spouse, but you will want to create a new will to ensure your assets are distributed according to your present wishes.


Instead of naming your children individually in your will, leaving your property in equal shares to “all children” can avoid the need for additional updates every time a child is born. If you have step-children or adopted children, it is important to clearly define your definition of “children”. A paramount reason for parents to create a will is to designate a guardian of the children in the event that both parents pass away.


Whether the person you want in charge of your estate or one of your beneficiaries passes away before you, you will want to review your will. Do you want the beneficiary’s children to get the inheritance now or someone else? Also, it is important to have alternative personal representatives and guardians in case your first choice predeceases you. (Estate Planning: Deciding on a Personal Representative)


Each state has different laws that can affect your how your estate will be handled. If you drafted your will when living in one state and then move to another state, it is important to have your will reviewed by an experience attorney in your new home state to ensure it is still valid.


If it has been years since you have reviewed your will, it would be a good idea to do so, even if no major life changes have occurred. You may have a change in your financial situation or you may have just change your mind on the way you want things to be handled.


Whether it has been a long time since your will was drafted or if life events have you questioning if your will is still valid, Pedersen Law Office, LLC can and we offer free consultations. We will review your current will and let you know if any changes are need to match your goals. Our law office serves the communities of Appleton, Neenah, Menasha, Oshkosh, Green Bay and their surrounding areas.

Category: Wills & Trusts

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