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When Should You Update Your Will?

You will undoubtedly enjoy many different milestones in your life. These milestones will be a mix of happy ones and sad ones. These milestones should lead you to do one thing each time you reach one – update your will. Simply creating a will and leaving it alone will not do you any good later in life. The will you create in your 20s might not reflect your wishes when you are in your 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, or later in life. Let’s look at the important milestones in life when you should update your will.


Marriage is the first time in life when you should update your will. Most people do not even have a will at this point in life, so getting married could be the reason to have a will created. You are now legally bound to your spouse, which means you will want to protect him or her for when you pass away, no matter the age this occurs. Dying without a will can cause a lot of legal problems for your spouse as your estate will fall into the hands of the state.

The Birth of Your First Child

The birth of your first child should be a trigger that you need to update your will. You now have a dependent and a second beneficiary should something happen to you. Make the changes based on what you and your spouse agree upon so that the child is taken care of in the event the two of you pass away prior to the child reaching adulthood. You need to choose their guardian, possibly create a trust, and more. The will should be updated with every child you have.


As fun as the milestones of marriage and having children are, divorce is one of those sad milestones in life. If you wind up getting divorced, you need to update your will. You obviously need to remove your former spouse from the will or have a brand new one created and the original voided. You likely do not want to leave your share of the divorce to your former spouse after going through negotiations to obtain those assets.

Birth of Grandchildren

Are you now a grandparent? This is another one of those happy milestones that should trigger you to update your will. Since becoming a grandparent is something that happens later in life, you likely have more assets to your name. You might want to leave specific items behind to your grandchildren. You can name them individually in your will so that they are taken care of after you die.

Death of Your Spouse

The death of your spouse will lead you to change your will. Once the will that is in place is taken care of following your spouse’s death, you can begin the process of updating it. You can change who your beneficiaries are, what you want to leave to other family members and friends, and if you want to create a trust for your grandchildren.

If you have reached one or more of the life milestones listed in this post, you need to contact an estate planning attorney to discuss your will. Update your will before it is too late. Call the team of Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. to schedule an appointment.

Published September 15, 2018
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