Once a person signs a will and tucks it away for safekeeping, the old saying come to life: “Out of sight; out of mind.” On one hand, it is good to be relieved of the worry of intestacy (dying without a will). On the other hand, things change and a will that becomes outdated can cause problems.
That is why it is a good idea to review your will every few years, particularly when there have been changes that may affect your plans. It just takes a few moments, but the practice can spare your loved ones some heartaches down the road and ensure that your Christian stewardship goals are properly carried out. (One tip: If it’s inconvenient to access the original will, make a copy to keep handy for easy reference.)
One reason for reviewing your will is change in the status of your dependents. Has God blessed your family with a new child? Or, if you no longer have dependent children, you may want to revise any custodial trusts created by the will.
Has there been a death in the family? A redistribution of assets may be in order. Does an adult child need more assistance than your other children? Again, a revised will might be in order.
Another reason to review is if there have been changes to the tax laws.
Changes in your finances, health, or family are important considerations. Charitable giving priorities may also change. If your children are doing well on their own, you may want to increase your bequest to your favorite charities. You can double-check that your arrangement utilizes your assets in a way that is most advantageous for your family and for charity.
Wills and other estate planning documents are only as good as the degree they reflect your current needs and priorities. It’s also important to make sure they coordinate with beneficiary designations and payable/transfer on death statements, and that they testify to your faith in Jesus our Lord. So take the time to read them over occasionally. Talk about these things with your family. Give yourself the satisfaction of knowing that your house is in order.
If you want assistance reviewing your documents or if you have never prepared a will, now is the time to care for this important matter. We have a free workbook that takes you through the steps of preparing a Christian estate plan. We can also provide assistance through a WELS Christian giving counselor and suggest a competent estate planning attorney to finalize the process.