Have you ever stood in front of your refrigerator and carefully examined the expiration date on a carton of milk? Even if the date had passed, did you sniff the carton and make your own assessment of your milk’s freshness? Like the milk in your refrigerator, your last will and testament may have effectively expired.
Because thinking about death can be uncomfortable, many Texans put off writing a will. Once you finish the task, it may be tempting to never think about the document again. Unfortunately, if you fail to regularly ensure your will continues to reflect your wishes, you may miss the mark. Here are four signs your will may be out of date.
1. You have not reviewed your will for a few years
Whether your focus is on your job, your family or something else, life has a way of moving rapidly. Still, you should read through your will occasionally to make sure it stays current. If you have not reviewed your will within the last five years, now is a good time to do so.
2. You have made a significant amount of money
If you have made a significant amount of money, acquired real estate or purchased securities since you wrote your will, the document may not cover all your assets. Moreover, you may now have enough wealth to include other beneficiaries in your will. Either way, if you have been successful financially, you probably want to update your estate plan.
3. You have lost assets
While making money is a good reason to modify your will, the reverse is also true. If you have lost assets, you may need to rethink how you intend to divide your property after your death.
4. You have added or lost family members
Finally, your will may no longer meet your needs if you have married, had children or lost a family member. Remember, your will details how you want your heirs to handle your possessions. If the document does not provide for everyone important to you, you probably need to rewrite it.
When you buy a carton of milk, you know its contents will not be fresh forever. The same logic applies to your last will and testament. While your post-death property dissolution may not be something you routinely like to revisit, keeping your will current is a good way to ensure your loved ones have the financial means they need to live a fulfilling life.