Although you may be putting off estate planning because you do not want to think of your own death, it needs to happen if you want to take care of your family. Writing a will is one of the first things you should do, as it states how you want to distribute your assets.
Along with writing a will in the first place, reviewing your will and changing it is important at certain times throughout your life. You want to ensure everything is up to date so no one gets left out.
What to include in a will
According to U.S. News and World Report, naming beneficiaries for your property, cash, vehicles, jewelry and other assets is one of the purposes of a will. Be specific about what goes to whom and be realistic. If you have young children, you should state in your will who will take over as the children’s guardian. It is a good idea to name more than one, in the event your first choice backs out or is not around upon your death.
Your will is also the place you name an executor of your estate. This person will be in charge of managing your estate and ensuring the proper carrying out of the directions laid out in your will.
When to change a will
FindLaw discusses that it is important to update the will when circumstances in your life change. Marriage or moving in with a domestic partner are two instances. So is the birth of each child. If you get a divorce, make sure to modify your will unless you still want to leave assets to your ex. If you remarry it is especially important to update the will, especially if there are stepchildren involved or you have children from each marriage.
If you move to a different state, check to see if it is a community property or common law property state and change your will accordingly. You will also need to update the will on a regular basis to account for new property acquired.