The answer is any time you face a major life change is the right time to update your will.
A marriage, divorce, a birth or adoption of a child, a move between states, anything that changes who your beneficiaries are is a valid reason for changing your will. Doing this promptly helps to eliminate confusion, misunderstandings and hard feelings later on.
Major life changes can include events that happen to extended family as well.
For example, if you had previously designated some fine, heirloom jewelry to your son’s wife and the marriage ended on not-so-friendly terms you may want to update that area of your will.
Likewise, if your daughter marries and you want to ensure that partial ownership of a domicile or access to funds is given to her spouse, then that section of your will should be promptly amended to reflect to whom the property or funds should be designated.
No one wants to think about it, but the death of a child or grandchild can also impact the provisions made in your will. Writing down specifically which grandchild or child should get what is the best way to guarantee that your intentions are carried out.
Here in Georgia there are certain general rules regarding wills. Briefly these are:
- Your will should be current and dated. All previous wills should be destroyed.
- You can’t be forced to sign a will.
- You should clearly identify your executor (personal representative)
- You must have two witnesses who are not beneficiaries
Another important step that sometimes gets overlooked but can save time in probate is to
- Take your will, along with your two witnesses, to a notary public to self-prove the will.
If you are unsure if your will is valid or if your changes accurately reflect your wishes you may want to talk to an attorney who has experience with wills.