It’s a good thing to have a will or estate plan written as early as possible. Being prepared helps make sure that we’re ready for whatever life brings, and we can be confident that our estate will be handled properly. It’s good to write a will early — but it’s not as good if it isn’t updated.
People often experience problems in court because of an out-dated will. A will can be 20 years old but still valid. However, it will be harder for it to give the court clear and specific instructions about how the properties should be divided or disposed of.
The Consequences of an Out of Date Will
Chances are that a 20-year-old document will not consider updates to the law or changes in the family’s life situations. For example, the person who the deceased named as the will executor may not be someone that they kept in touch with for 20 years. So when the time comes to execute the will, the changes will wreak havoc to the process and make it more challenging for the court and the beneficiaries to decipher the will and close the probate.
Anyone can write their will as early as they can. But they also have to make sure that it stays updated and in line with the most recent laws and life situations. Some of the new things that the probate court looks for in wills include:
- What happens to electronic property?
- Who has access to the deceased’s passwords?
- Should the executor be required to take out a bond or insurance policy?
These things can change over time and the older the document goes, the more out of date it becomes. An out of date will does more harm than good in probate, not only delaying the process but making it harder for the court and the beneficiaries.
The Best Practice: Redo the Will
People should always make it a point to redo their will every now and then. At the very least, it should be rewritten (and not amended) every 10 years. But every time a person experiences some life changes or loses touch with family members, etc., they should always have their wills at the back of their heads and make sure to change whatever is necessary to reflect current situations.
A revocable trust, on the other hand, does not go to court. And because of that, this document can last a little longer than a will in terms of being updated. But it’s still worth it to redo a revocable trust every 20 years or so.
Things in a person’s life can change over time. Laws also change, as well as court processes and guidelines that pertain to probate. It’s always a good practice to redo a will every now and then to reflect these changes and ensure smooth and effective execution.