Your Will: Overhaul vs. Update
If there is one thing we can count on in life, it’s change. Because change occurs in our lives all the time, it’s important to keep estate plans up to date.
But how do you know which situations simply require updating your existing will with a codicil and which ones necessitate a whole new will? This guide can help.
Draft a New Will if:
- Your marital status has changed. Whether you’re a newlywed or are going through a divorce, be sure to take time to update your will. You may want to remove your previous spouse or add your new one to your estate plan.
- Your children are grown. If you created a will when your children were young, you’ll likely need an overhaul. If they are old enough and financially stable, you may no longer need provisions for guardianship or trust funds.
- You move to a different state. Legal requirements of a will vary from state to state. Consult an attorney in your new state to ensure your will is valid.
Update Your Existing Will if:
- Your executor’s situation has changed. Has the executor, guardian or trustee named in your will moved or passed away? Update your plans to reflect these changes.
- You wish to support a favorite cause with a gift. This simply requires including a few lines in a codicil—a legal instrument made to modify an earlier will. Contact Chelsea Collings at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 466-3234, ext 231 to receive official language you can share with your attorney for including a gift to Americans United for Separation of Church and State in your will.
- You want to make changes to an inheritance. For example, you would like to change the amount of money you’ll leave to a sibling from $25,000 to $50,000. Consider giving a percentage of your estate to people or organizations—that way your gift remains proportional, no matter how your estate fluctuates.
Review Your Goals
With tax law changes this year, it’s the perfect time to review your plans and ensure they are still in line with your philanthropic goals. If you have questions about including a gift to Americans United in your will, or need help getting started, please contact Chelsea Collings at email@example.com or (202) 466-3234, ext 231.
The information on this website is not intended as legal or tax advice. For such advice, please consult an attorney or tax advisor. Figures cited in examples are for illustrative purposes only. References to tax rates include federal taxes only and are subject to change. State law may further impact your individual results. Annuities are subject to regulation by the State of California. Payments under such agreements, however, are not protected or otherwise guaranteed by any government agency or the California Life and Health Insurance Guarantee Association. A charitable gift annuity is not regulated by the Oklahoma Insurance Department and is not protected by a guaranty association affiliated with the Oklahoma Insurance Department. Charitable gift annuities are not regulated by and are not under the jurisdiction of the South Dakota Division of Insurance.