Can You Modify Your Last Will and Testament?
A last will and testament is a critical estate planning document. In fact, regardless of your family dynamic, personal situation, or financial circumstances, your will is going to serve as the foundation of your entire estate plan.
In this legally binding document, you can:
- Appoint an executor to ensure your wishes are followed and guide your estate through probate,
- Appoint a guardian to watch over any minor children, and
- Distribute assets to loved ones and/or charities.
Because life is ultimately unpredictable, it’s wise to draft a will as soon as you turn 18. Most people put off doing so, however, since creating an estate plan means facing your own mortality. This can be challenging mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.
That’s not the only reason why people are reluctant to write a last will, though. Those who consider themselves fairly practical tend to put off doing so because of their ever-changing circumstances. As you age, your situation is inevitably going to evolve, and that means the terms of your will must, as well.
Thankfully, you can modify your will as needed. As such, there’s really no reason to put off writing one.
In fact, there’s no limit to how many times you can change the terms of the document. As long as you implement the newest provisions in a legally binding way, the revisions you make will always hold up in court.
How Often Should I Review My Last Will?
Once you write a will, it’s wise to make a note in your calendar that reminds you to review it periodically. Most people find it makes sense to review their estate planning documents around tax time each year, since that’s when they’re taking inventory of their assets anyway.
If you cannot find the time to look over your will annually, at least try to do so every three years. It’s also advisable to review it after every major change in circumstances. Examples include:
- Getting married,
- Starting a business,
- Having children,
- Buying a house,
- Receiving an inheritance,
- Selling a business,
- Getting divorced, and
- Having grandchildren.
Chances are you’ll need to modify at least some of the terms in your will after any of the scenarios mentioned above. By doing so right away, the document will always be up-to-date. In addition to providing peace of mind, having a will with current terms will make things so much easier for your loved ones if something were to happen to you unexpectedly.
If you take anything away from this post, it should be this: Yes, you can modify your last will and testament, and no, there is no limit to how many times you can do so. As such, it’s wise to draft one as soon as possible and then update it as needed. This is the easiest and most effective way to ensure your family will be taken care of in all eventualities.
Speak with a Michigan Estate Planning Attorney
Need help writing your last will and testament? Turn to the knowledgeable team at Smith & Johnson. We have been representing Michigan citizens since 1965, and we’d be proud to counsel you, too. Call 231-946-0700 or submit our Contact Form to schedule a free initial consultation with an estate planning lawyer in Michigan.