If your question is “When is it time to update my will?” then it is already time to have a professional specialising in wills, trusts and estate planning review your will. As a general rule, it is wise to update your will every three to five years, though it is recommended that you review it once a year just to make sure nothing of importance changed during the past twelve months for which an update will be necessary.
With the will being the most important record of instructions regarding your assets and wishes, you will want to update it when circumstances change, such as when:
- You get a divorce.
- You remarry and have to cater to the needs of your spouse and step children as well.
- One or more of your children marry, divorce or separate.
- One of your children now also has step children in their care.
- Your spouse died.
- Your long-time partner died.
- One of the beneficiaries died.
- The original guardians you stipulated in your will died or divorced.
- A new grandchild is born.
- If you no longer wish to provide for a particular beneficiary.
- Your financial circumstances have changed including the acquisition of assets or disposal thereof.
- Legislation changes, which affect how the distribution of assets to your beneficiaries will work.
- You want to split the estate in a different way between the beneficiaries.
- You want to change the executor of your will because the person has been incapacitated, died or is no longer a suitable candidate.
- You want to substitute one beneficiary for another.
- You have retired and want to review how taxes will affect your finances and estate.
Whenever or not a life changing event takes place, review the will. Such events include changes in relationships, deaths, illnesses and financial positions.
Many South Africans have not made provision for their wishes regarding their estates. Reasons people give include, but are not limited to:
- I don’t have time to update my will now.
- I will wait until I retire to ensure that everything is included.
- Too many changes take place every year and with new additions to the family I cannot keep up.
- My spouse will inherit everything so I don’t need to set special conditions or wishes on paper.
- I am not yet sure who should be the guardians for my children.
- My children have not yet married and I want to make sure that I can include future grandchildren.
Many people do have wills, but the wills have not been updated for years. Just looking at when it is time to update your will, it becomes apparent that too many things can change over the years. Although you and your husband or wife may be very much in love right now and you believe that your spouse will look after financial wellbeing of your children, you don’t have any guarantees. It is essential to stipulate exactly who should inherit what portion of your estate, who should be the guardians of your children should your spouse pass away with you or perhaps later, but without a will and what specific conditions must be met. Don’t hesitate any longer. If you have drawn up a will and it has been a while, get in contact with our team to update your will.