A couple of months ago we wrote an article about the top reasons to update your will (The Top 10 Reasons to Update Your Will ). As we discussed there, it is really important to update your will if there has been a major change in your life, such as giving birth, marriage, or divorce.
It makes sense and most of us are aware that we need to take this step. Unfortunately even though we understand the importance of the issue, we still end up failing to take action. Having an outdated will is one of the top estate planning mistakes most of us make.
What can go wrong?
If nothing has changed from the time you created your will in terms of you family status, having kids, or your financial situation, then you might be good to go with the current version of your will. But in any other case you definitely must consider updating your estate plan.
We found three great examples to illustrate what can go wrong.
This example is taken from RI Article Hub.
“Bill had a family trust holding significant assets. After divorcing his wife Marlene, Bill inadvertently left Marlene in the family trust deed as the controller (appointor) of the trust.
When Bill unexpectedly passed away, Marlene was left in control of the family trust. She wound up the trust and transferred the trust assets to herself.”
This example is taken from one of ILP + McChain Miller Nissman articles.
“The story of “Brandon and Emily” has been featured in The National Law Review. Prior to their marriage, Brandon received a multi-million dollar settlement as the result of an accident. Although Brandon and Emily signed a prenuptial agreement prior to getting married, after they had been married for some time, Brandon added Emily as an 80% beneficiary. That would have been fine if Emily had not filed for divorce. A short time later, Brandon died suddenly. Even though they were no longer a couple, Emily received $14.4 million.”
The last example is taken from AARP.org and it shows that even celebrities can make this mistake.
“ After actor Heath Ledger died in January 2008, reports surfaced that he had failed to update an old will created before his daughter was born. As a result, Ledger’s entire $20 million estate went to his parents and three sisters. “
At this point you are probably realizing how important it is to update your will. Just go to the office of your estate planner attorney and talk about it. Don`t forget to safely store the new version of your will in AfterVault.com, so your family can find it when they need it the most.