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Major life events that may require an update to your will

Update your will after significant life events.

Most people write their last will and testament with certain beneficiaries in mind. They may also have an idea of which assets to bequest. The purpose of such estate planning is to ensure their last wishes are respected and that the assets they worked hard to build are protected for future generations.

However, failure to update a will can result in it being contested and leading to disputes in court. There are significant milestones that should be on your radar as reminders to revise your will. Here are three examples of such events. 

1. A marriage or divorce in the family.

In both instances, a will may need amendment. If a beneficiary in your will, such as a son or daughter, gets married, you may wish to add their spouse to the will. This revision would also be an ideal time to specify which estate assets you want to leave for the couple. For instance, personal effects such as jewellery or antique collectibles are common gifts to commemorate the occasion of marriage in a will. In the case of a divorce, failing to remove an ex-partner as a beneficiary can lead to an estate dispute.  

2. The birth of a child or grandchild. 

Because the content of a will is legally binding, forgetting to add new family members could cost them assets you wished for them. The best way to confirm this doesn't occur is to review your will every three or four years. Trusts can also be set up by expert lawyers to dictate the terms of how your assets should be protected or used by beneficiaries, such as spending money purely for education. 

3. If you earn or win a significant fortune. 

Shares you invested in might pay off, you may win financial prizes, or inherit money as a beneficiary yourself. Any increase in your net worth should prompt a revision of your will. 

Legal advice should be solicited for each addendum to a will to safeguard your intentions.