Last Will and Testament Document

Reviewing and Updating Your Will

StachlerHarmon Attorneys at Law May 29, 2023

Creating a will allows you to provide certain instructions about how your estate and assets should be handled, distributed to inheritors, or disposed of following your death. However, several life changes may occur to you, your family, your finances, and assets after drafting your will. Such changes may include divorce, a new relationship, the arrival of a new baby, job loss, acquiring more assets, or retirement. As a result, you need to review and update your will. 

At StachlerHarmon Attorneys at Law, we have the experience and diligence to walk clients through estate-planning-related matters. Our seasoned Ohio estate planning attorneys are available to discuss your situation, advise you when to review and update your will, and help you make the required adjustments to your estate plan. We’re proud to serve clients across Dayton, Warren, Miamisburg, Clark County, Preble County, Butler County, and Greene County, Ohio. 

Updating Your Will

Apart from creating a will in your estate plan, it is crucial to ensure that your last will and testament are up to date. Generally, you’re advised to update your will regularly to ensure that the provisions of the document are consistent with your present wishes. In fact, you can update your will yearly, every three or five years, or anytime you experience major life changes.  

Additionally, you may need to update your will regularly to make sure the document is consistent with changes in federal and state tax or estate planning laws. The new adjustments or updates to the will should reflect major changes and events in your life. Also, you can make changes to make sure it is legal and valid based on new estate planning laws in the state.  

However, when reviewing and updating your will, it is advisable that you seek reliable advocacy and proper guidance from an experienced wills lawyer

When to Update Your Will

Some major events or changes in your life that may necessitate reviewing and updating your will or estate plan are as follows: 

Changes in marital status – You may consider updating your will if you were engaged, married, went through a divorce recently, or are now in a new relationship

New additions to your family – Also, you should review and update your will after the arrival of a new baby, grandchild, or a successful adoption. 

Acquiring or losing assets – If you have acquired or lost some property and assets to be inherited within the past year, you may need to add or remove such assets to your will. 

Death of beneficiaries – Unfortunately, you may need to update your will if you have lost a named heir or beneficiary. This may involve redistributing assets or naming a new beneficiary. 

Others: Here are some other reasons to review and update your will: 

  • relocating or moving to a new area. 

  • changing designations, such as beneficiaries, executors, guardians, or witnesses 

  • starting a new business. 

  • retirement 

  • changes in tax laws. 

  • career changes 

  • your minor children and grandchildren are now adults. 

  • loss of employment 

  • significant decrease or increase in the estate or asset value. 

  • changes in your charity relationships 

If you are considering evaluating and updating your will, you should reach out to a seasoned estate planning lawyer immediately. Your legal representative can explore your possible options to make changes or update your will and direct you through the legal procedures involved.   

Making a Change (Codicil) vs. Drafting a New Will

Additionally, in order to update your will, you can make desired changes to the provisions of the last will and testament by using a codicil or drafting a new will. A codicil is an addition (additional written document) that is often used to modify or explain a will. If you’re considering making minor adjustments, you may use a codicil. However, make sure the codicil is properly signed and witnessed like your existing will.  

Alternatively, if you need to make several adjustments to your existing will, you should consider creating a new will. Generally, creating a new will can help avoid confusion or disputes between surviving loved ones after your demise. To create a new will, you should revoke the existing document and craft a new last will and testament. Above all, ensure that the provisions of the new will are consistent with your current wishes and that the documents are correctly signed and witnessed. 

Helping You Protect What Matters Most

Establishing a will or estate plan should never be seen as a one-time task. After every major life change, it is important that you review and update your will – and other estate planning documents – to reflect your present wishes. At StachlerHarmon Attorneys at Law, we enjoy advising and guiding clients through the complexities of drafting, reviewing, and updating wills. 

In addition, our lawyers can examine the surrounding circumstances of your personal situation and educate you about the benefits and when to update your will. Also, we will help you decide whether to update your existing will or draft a new document. Our attorneys will help you through the legal procedures involved and ensure your will remains legal and valid after the new amendments.  

Contact us at StachlerHarmon Attorneys at Law today to schedule an initial consultation with a practiced wills attorney. We’re proud to serve clients across Dayton, Warren, Miamisburg, Clark County, Preble County, Butler County, and Greene County, Ohio.