Your will can become out-of-date if you don’t take steps to keep it current. It might not seem like a big deal, but if your will becomes out-of-date, it could cause problems for you and your loved ones when you try to access your estate.
If you don’t take steps to keep your will current, it could make your estate inaccessible to friends and family members, even if they have the legal right to inherit your property.
A will becomes out-of-date in a few different ways. You’re only going to become out-of-date once, even if it’s a recurring problem. Once your will becomes out-of-date, you need to take steps to try to keep it current.
It also depends on why your will became out-of-date in the first place. If you’re interested in learning more about the 5 different ways your will can become out-of-date and what to do about it, continue reading.
1. Your Beneficiaries Have Died
A beneficiary has died if one of the people named in your will is no longer alive. The law says that if a person dies, the entire will becomes out-of-date. If you named your children as beneficiaries, but they’ve both passed away, your will is out-of-date.
Moreover, if you named one of them as the primary beneficiary, but they’ve passed away, your will is out-of-date. It doesn’t matter why the person is no longer alive; all you have to do is find out that they’re no longer alive. You don’t have to wait until the will is admitted to probate.
2. Your Executor Died or Can No Longer Serve
An executor, also known as a personal representative, is the person who will oversee the distribution of your property. The court can appoint another executor if the person you have named is not able to serve.
Beneficiaries may be able to have their say on who is chosen, but they may not be the person you want in that position. If your executor is dead or unable to serve, your will is out-of-date.
What’s more, your will can also become out-of-date if your executor is unable to serve as the executor of your will and the person who owns your property dies. If the person serving as the executor of your will is unable to serve, your will is out-of-date.
3. You Might Have New Beneficiaries
Your estate will not be distributed if your will was made before you were married or had children. States have certain provisions to protect children and spouses that are made after the will has been written. Most states allow spouses to inherit a portion of the estate.
Many states also have laws in place that allow children to inherit the estate from their parents, protecting them from being affected by a will. You may find that your state’s laws do not allow your spouse or children to inherit the amount you intended. These are just two examples of situations where state law will dictate the destination of your estate.
4. The Law Changes
Your will can become out-of-date because the law has changed. The law changes all the time. In addition to the changes you experience from day to day, the law can change from one year to the next.
Laws can change for many reasons, including the addition of new statutes, amendments to existing statutes, the repeal of statutes, and the amendment of court rules. If the law has changed and it immediately affects your will, your will is out-of-date.
5. You Don’t Own the Property in Your Will
This is one of the most common ways your will becomes out-of-date. Imagine your will is written to equally divide your estate by giving money and property equal in value to your family.
They will not receive anything if the property is sold prior to your death. Your will does not guarantee that your estate will be split equally in this instance.
This can also happen if property you own changes hands or is transferred to someone else. This can happen when you sell property, if your family members or heirs inherit property you own, or if property is transferred to you as a gift. If you don’t own any property and don’t have any family members or heirs who own property, this is the most common way your will becomes out-of-date.
When to Call a Wills Lawyer
If your will can be out-of-date because a beneficiary has died, you have potential new beneficiaries, or your executor is dead or unable to serve, you should call a wills lawyer. If for any reason you believe your will might be out-of-date or could soon become out of date, it’s time to contact a wills lawyer.
Call Doane & Doane to Speak with a Wills Lawyer Today
Doane & Doane Attorneys at Law are committed to assisting you with all of your estate planning needs. We invite you to contact us today to discuss how we can best serve you. Call 561-656-0200 or submit our contact form to get started.