A strong last will and testament is the foundation of most estate plans, regardless of how complex a person’s estate may be. Whether you have significant resources to manage and disperse or simply want to make sure that your wishes are clearly documented for your loved ones when the time comes, it is vitally important to craft a will and maintain it.
Unfortunately, many people do not realize that their will may not protect their rights and wishes in Wisconsin if it does not accurately reflect their life circumstances and estate. In order to ensure that your will represents your wishes properly, it is wise to revisit the document any time that you experience significant life events, or every four years if no major life events occur.
By performing routine maintenance in this way, you can help your beneficiaries avoid unnecessary conflicts and keep your wishes clear and enforceable. If you do not keep your will current, your wishes for your estate may suffer, as well as your beneficiaries.
Some of the most common reasons to update a will are changes in the beneficiaries you list. This may occur if you get married or divorced, or if your spouse passes away. Spouses often have a strong claim to significant portions of an estate, and if your will indicates that your former spouse receives your property instead of your current spouse, it may create a large conflict that the courts must resolve.
Similarly, it is wise to review and amend your will any time that your family grows through birth, adoption or marriage, or any time that you lose a beneficiary through death or divorce, or a shift in your own preferences. You can help the ones you love avoid many lengthy, costly conflicts simply by keeping your list of beneficiaries current.
Changes to your estate
It is also important for your will to reflect your estate as closely as possible, particularly if you choose to leave property to specific beneficiaries. If your estate suddenly grows significantly, a clearly written, well-crafted will and estate plan may help protect your resources from diminishing through probate, and you may need to state in the will how you wish for your beneficiaries to share in the prosperity.
Likewise, if your estate suddenly shrinks, then it is a good idea to amend your will to reflect the changes. The greater clarity you can offer your beneficiaries through your will, the less likely it is that your will may receive legal challenges. If your will gifts property that you no longer own to your beneficiaries, it may strain their relationships as they fight over who gets what piece of the pie, so to speak.
Your will represents your legacy
The will we create in life is often our last statement to the ones around us and to the world at large. No matter how complicated or simple your estate may be, your legacy deserves your time and attention. A strong, clear will demonstrates that you value the blessings you’ve encountered on your journey and makes your wishes clear to those you love.