It is also important to realize that it isn’t merely “why” you are updating your will, but “when” you are updating that can make all the difference. Acting too late (or too early) may mean your changes are no longer appropriate or even immediately invalidated.
For example, did you name someone as an heir who is no longer in favor with you or—worse yet—has died? Who should get what they would have gotten? Are there now new people in your life—be they family members or not—whom you might wish to share in what you may have?
Whenever you open a financial account, you’re almost always asked to name a beneficiary. Simply stated, a beneficiary of the account is someone who is entitled to the benefits of the account, typically, on the death of the account holder. If you’ve purchased life insurance, for example, you name a beneficiary, who receives the benefits of the policy when you pass.
Without an estate plan in place, clients will be reliant on state laws and probate courts to appoint individuals who will be responsible for financial affairs and health-care decisions, in the case of illness and ultimately the transfer of assets upon death.