Let’s say you had a last will and testament drafted 12 years ago. At the time, you were newly married, and you and your spouse didn’t have much to your name. But you had a new house and career and felt like it was the grown-up thing to do to give your family and each other a clear idea of your wishes if something were to happen. Then one day, you’re cleaning out a desk drawer and find your will — untouched after all these years. You kick yourself because you’d meant to update them, and now the thought crosses your mind: “Do wills expire?
Wills do not expire, but they can become outdated if enough circumstances in your life have changed since being created. They can also be deemed invalid based on other factors. We’d venture to say that after 12 years, more has changed than you think.
Therefore, it’s wise to visit with an estate planning attorney sooner rather than later.
Wills don’t expire, but the clock is still ticking.
A will is a legal document that spells out your final wishes and gives you control over how things play out moving forward rather than leaving key decisions in the hands of judges. It also reduces stress, heartache, and potential family strife for your loved ones during an emotional time.
A typical will includes:
- How your assets should be distributed
- Who gets what, and how much
- Details for final arrangements
- Who should care for your minor children and pets
- Who is in charge (executor) of making sure all of this happens
Even a will that hasn’t been updated in years is still considered valid as long as it was created legally. But they should still be updated regulary to account for changes in your life. For example, you and your spouse may have children now. Your executor may have passed away or is no longer in a position to make sound decisions for you because of ongoing health problems. Perhaps you now have additional real estate, a new business, or financial changes that were never accounted for.
Is it possible that nothing has changed in the past 12 years? Sure. But the odds are higher that there may still be a few things that have happened over the years that you may not be considering. Depending on your unique situation, these changes and many others may call for adding an addendum to your existing will or drafting a new one altogether.
What could potentially impact the validity of a will?
Even though your current will won’t expire, there are several scenarios that could impact your will:
- You got divorced
- The will was never properly witnessed or signed
- Previous wills weren’t destroyed
- Undue influence or fraud
- You have a prenuptial agreement
- Inadequate testamentary capacity
- Not following your state’s will requirements
A will is one of the more important decisions you will ever make for both you and your loved ones. The attorneys at Christman | Daniell Attorneys, have valuable experience preparing wills for families and individuals. And depending upon your needs and circumstances, proper estate planning could involve much more than writing a will.
We help you put together an estate plan that goes beyond the last will and testament with a revocable trust, living will, health care directives, powers of attorney, or other documents. Our attorneys will help you to create legal instruments to distribute your assets according to your wishes, nominate a guardian for minor children, minimize family disputes, avoid probate and estate administration, and plan for incapacity.
Please call Christman | Daniell Attorneys, for your legal needs today!
Please consult an attorney for advice about your situation. The material on this website and in this or any blog article we publish are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. The attorneys at Christman | Daniell Attorneys, believe in tailoring legal advice and solutions to your circumstances.
We have an unwavering commitment to helping our clients at each stage of their legal situation.