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When Should You Update Your Will?

Your last will and testament allows you to make arrangements for your estate and divide your possessions among your family and friends after you pass away. If you don’t change your will after it’s created, the document is validated and executed after you pass away. However, you should review your will regularly to ensure it accurately reflects your last wishes. Below, we discuss occasions when you should review and update your will. 

Getting Married or Divorced 

You should update your will any time your marital status changes. When you get married, you’ll likely want to add your spouse to your will and discuss the possessions and property you’d like to give to them. If these possessions differ from the standard surviving spousal share of 50% of the estate, you’ll also want to discuss this in your will.

Once you get divorced, ex-spouses are automatically eliminated from your will if you pass away before updating it. However, updating your will to remove your ex-spouse ensures there are no gray areas when executing your will. You’ll also want to remove any of your ex-in-laws you may have named as beneficiaries.

Every Three to Five Years 

Laws change. Relationships change. That’s why reviewing your estate plan every few years is important. Your estate planning attorney can review your will to confirm that it follows all current laws to maintain its validity. You should also review your will to see if you want to make any updates to the beneficiaries or the possessions you’ve named.

Recently Moved to Florida 

Florida Statute 732.502 states that valid wills created in other states are valid in Florida. However, you should still review your will after you move. Likely, many of your assets and possessions changed during the move, so you’ll want to account for those changes in your will. You’ll also want to revise any changes in real estate property ownership. Contact our Daytona Beach estate planning attorneys to ensure your will is updated and valid in Florida.

New Addition to Family 

When your family grows with the birth or adoption of a child, you should update your will to list them as a beneficiary. You’ll want to name a guardian for the child in your will, as well. If you’re a new grandparent, you may want to consider updating your will to list your grandchildren as beneficiaries. 

Beneficiary Passes Away 

If you named a loved one as a beneficiary in your will and they pass away, you’ll want to update your will and name a new beneficiary to receive those assets. If you don’t remove the decedent (the person who passed away) from your will, the assets the beneficiary would have received will go to their next-of-kin following Florida’s line of succession laws (usually the beneficiary’s spouse or children). If the person you named as your personal representative passes away, you’ll want to amend your will to name a new executor. You should also amend your will if the guardian you named for your children passes away.

Significant Economic Changes to the Estate 

You’ll want to update your will when you have a substantial change in your economic situation, such as a job promotion or a layoff that drastically changes your income and savings. Look at the funds you have set aside for beneficiaries and make updates as needed. You’ll also want to review the possessions listed in the will and make updates, especially if you purchase or sell a large asset like a home, business, or luxury vehicle. 

How to Update Your Will in Florida 

There are two primary ways to update your will in Florida. The first is a formal amendment to the original document, called a codicil. Codicils work best for minor changes that won’t alter the majority of the will, such as listing a different beneficiary for a particular asset or updating the amount of money you’d like to donate to charity. Codicils need to be signed by you and two witnesses to be valid. For more substantial changes affecting several parts of your will, it’s best to create an entirely new document and revoke older versions.

Will Creation and Modification: Every & Stack 

Our Daytona Beach estate planning attorneys can help you draft, review, and update your will. Whether you are a new or a long-term resident, you can trust us to ensure you have an estate plan that fits your unique circumstances. Call us at 386-255-1925 for a free consultation so we can help you with your estate planning needs. 

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