5 Reasons Why a Will Can Protect Your Family

By: Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services
Thursday, March 25, 2021

When you wrote your will, you likely created it based on what your life was like at the time.

But like many things, changes in life circumstances are inevitable. Therefore, it is always a good idea to review your will every three to five years, and it’s especially important any time you experience a major life change. Below are five circumstances that can indicate a review or update is probably needed.

1. Marriage or Divorce

One major reason to review your will is if your marital status has changed. If you’ve gotten divorced, state laws determine whether or not your former spouse is still entitled to your assets upon your passing. In some states, the will overrides the divorce and in others the opposite is true. Remarriage can further muddle the situation. If you experience any change to your marital status—including divorce, remarriage, separation, or the dissolution of a domestic partnership—you should take the time to make a new will. An experienced estate planning attorney can guide you through this process.

2. Change in Family

The birth or adoption of a child can affect your will. If they are unnamed in your will, they may be able to make a legal claim in some states. However, they might also receive nothing. If you want to leave money or assets to your children or grandchildren, spell it out in your will so there’s no question about your intentions. Also, consider what you want to happen if you leave your assets to your adult children and one of them predeceases you. Do you want their share to go to your grandchildren or to be split amongst your living offspring?

3. No Alternates

When you created your will, you may have had a clear vision of what everyone’s roles would be as far as guardians, beneficiaries, power of attorney, etc. However, a death or other change in your relationship status with those in any of these roles may warrant a change of direction in your estate planning. Consider alternatives for who will be handling your estate, inheriting your assets, or managing the finances of minor children and update your will to reflect these choices. Additionally, in some cases, the witness or witnesses who signed your will need to testify that it is a valid document. If your witnesses become incapacitated in any way, you may need to draft a new will with new witness signatures.

4. You Move

Buying a new home can trigger the need to review and update your will. For example, if you specify an address in your will for a home you wish to bequeath to a family member and you no longer own that property, you’ll want to update your will to reflect the new address. If you move to another state, your will may face additional challenges. Your will follows the state laws of the state in which you reside, not the state in which you created it. If you have minors, how you’ve designated their care in the event of your passing may also need to change to accommodate the laws of your current state. Additionally, your spouse may be automatically entitled to your property in your new state. If this isn’t what you intend, it’s time to reevaluate your will.

5. You Require More Complex Estate Planning

In some cases, a simple will is sufficient. However, more complex estates warrant more sophisticated estate planning. If you own multiple properties, businesses, and valuable assets, you may need more than your simple will can cover. For example, state laws may get tricky when it comes to estate taxes. A good estate attorney should be adept at helping you to navigate estate tax laws and other more complex aspects of estate distribution. Having this taken care of in advance can help your beneficiaries to avoid the headache of sorting through tax laws after your death.

When it comes to your will, you need to decide what works best for you, your family, and situation.

It’s a living, breathing document that may require adaptations over time. Take out your will every three years or so and review it. You may be surprised at what you need or want to change as time goes by.

We hope this information helps you to give some thought to your will and any reviews or changes it may require. If you have questions, please feel free to contact our compassionate professionals. It is always an honor to assist you.

About Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services: As a leading African American-owned and operated funeral and cremation organization, Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services has provided a ministry of care to thousands of grieving families. We promise to provide our highest level of distinguished service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved ones. In all aspects of the funeral process, we strive to be the absolute best and are honored to help preserve our clients’ legacies for future generations. With two convenient locations serving North and West Philadelphia, it is always our pleasure to be of service. Please visit our website for more information.

Leave a comment
Name*:
Email:
Comment*:
Please enter the numbers and letters you see in the image. Note that the case of the letters entered matters.

Comments

Please wait

Previous Posts

How to Choose Photos that Celebrate Your Loved One’s Life

When a loved one passes away, surviving friends and family members are left with precious memories. Photographs and other mementos take on special significance. Whether you are writing an obituar...

Seven Imaginative Ideas for Your Loved One’s Celebration of Life

Are you considering hosting a celebration of life for a departed loved one? Unlike a funeral or memorial service, these events focus on joyful remembrance rather than grief. You can hold a celebr...

FEMA Announces COVID-19 Funeral Assistance

FEMA will begin accepting applications for Funeral Assistance on Monday, April 12, 2021 through a dedicated call center. Please see the call line information below: 844-684-6333 | TTY: 800-462-758...

Upcoming Webinar: Managing Change & Grief - April 14

We hope you will join us! Recognizing that professional counseling can be an important part of the grieving and healing process, we have invited Leslie Holley, MA, LCPC, NCC, and certified counsel...

Retain Your Independence with these Helpful Senior Lifestyle Tips

Aging is different now than it was for previous generations. More people are living longer than at any other time in history. To support that longevity, there are a growing number of helpful reso...

Funeral Favors Offer a Unique Way to Honor Your Loved One’s Memory

Offering guests a small favor is a lovely way to keep memories alive after a funeral service or celebration of life. While these keepsakes are an optional part of funeral planning, they represent...

Sympathy Gifts: A Beautiful Way to Express Your Love and Support

A sympathy gift can be a heartwarming way to demonstrate your support for someone who is grieving. Whether you choose a gift that helps your friend through the bereavement process or one that hon...

Writing the Perfect Obituary isn’t Hard if You Follow These Pointers

Obituaries come in all types and sizes. They can be long or short, elaborate or basic, entertaining or straighforward. At one time, death notices contained only essential information: who passed ...

Celebrating Black History Month During COVID-19: Six Meaningful Ideas for You and Your Family

February marks the start of Black History Month, a federally-recognized celebration of the many contributions of African Americans. This year’s theme, “Black Family: Representation, Identity, and...

Struggling to Cope with the Loss of a Beloved Pet? Here’s Some Helpful Guidance

The loss of a pet can be profound and the grief is very real. Animals provide companionship, acceptance, emotional support, and unconditional love. These relationships are special, so it’s unders...