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Many life changes can impact your will

Growing older can lead to many life changes, and many of them have significant implications that may surprise you. We tend to think of our legal and professional lives as separate from our personal lives, but when it comes to your will, this is not the case.

Your will carries a great deal of importance, both for yourself and for those you love and who love you. When it comes time to read your will and honor your wishes, contradictions or inconsistencies between your wishes and your life circumstances can lead to enormous conflict among your family and other beneficiaries.

If you want to avoid creating unnecessary conflict and care about the accuracy of your written wishes when you pass away, it is wise to review your will at least every five years. This way, even if you do not experience any other life changes that require amending the will, you can account for changes in the law that may affect your beneficiaries.

Life changes to consider

Depending on the paths that you choose and the events that come your way, you may find yourself dealing with many blessings and obstacles that you did not anticipate when you first created your will. Many people simply create the document, have it notarized properly, and then seal it away in a safe where it sits until they pass away. This approach often creates nearly as many problems as creating the will solves in the first place.

Any time that you experience a life event that affects a person's status as your beneficiary, or that affects your estate substantially, it is wise to review your will.

This means that you should review and possibly amend your will if you marry, get divorced or remarry, for instance. If your child marries or divorces someone, then this may also affect your wishes for your beneficiaries.

Families may grow or shrink in numerous ways, such as divorce, death, birth or adoption. If you experience any of these life events, or if your beneficiaries experience these events, you should review your will.

You must also review your will if you suddenly increase or decrease your net worth significantly. The reasons are straightforward — if you have much more estate to leave behind, you probably want to determine where it goes. Similarly, if you lose some or all of your estate, you want your will to reflect this change so that you do not leave a beneficiary something that you no longer have to give.

Act now for peace of mind

Unless you reviewed your will recently, it is probably a good time to do so. If you find that you do need to make some changes, do not put them off. The sooner your will reflects your current wishes for your estate, the sooner you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with high-quality estate planning.

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