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When was the last time you updated your will?

If you are like most people, you probably wrote out your will after you married and had children. New parents do that to ensure that if something were to happen to both parents, they could predetermine who would become the guardians of their minor children.

While that is certainly a wise plan, you could find yourself in your late 40s or 50s (or even older) and still have a will that dictates who will care for your “kids” who may even have kids of their own. Read on to learn some important things about when to update your last will and testament.

You moved — across town or the United States

Wills are typically written with specificity and according to the laws of the state where you live. If, for instance, your will states that you leave your home at “123 Main Street” to your children but you sold that years ago and now live elsewhere, your will needs to reflect these changes.

One of your beneficiaries has died

If you had the misfortune to lose a child (or grandchild) to an early death but your will still lists the decedent as your heir, this could create big problems as your estate moves through probate.

Your fortunes have taken a nose-dive

Maybe you were high-rolling in the 80s and 90s but became financially undone by the recession in the early aughts — and never fully recovered. You may need to adjust the sums you planned to leave your heirs to reflect your current financial status.

You became a patron of a charity

Maybe you are now a big contributor to your local Habitat for Humanity chapter and want to leave them something in your will. Your will needs to be updated to reflect your charitable intentions.

Allow a professional to assist you with these changes

One of the easiest ways to make a mistake with your will is to try to do it yourself. Seeking guidance and direction from a legal professional when making changes to your last will and testament assures that you will get it right.