Is It Time to Update Your Will?

Written by Jonathan Breeden

December 5, 2018

We all know we need a will, yet most of us don’t actually have one. The only way you can be sure that your estate is divided the way you prefer among the people you care about is to do it yourself. Consider working with a will attorney to help you create a will and keep your estate out of probate. Residents in Johnston, Wake, and Harnett counties who need help with their wills can contact Breeden Law Office at (919) 661-4970.

When Should You Update Your Will?

If you already have a will, you’ve done the right thing for your family’s future. But don’t think you can just lock up your will and forget about it. Wills generally need to be updated from time to time. That doesn’t mean you need to have an annual review of your estate; rather, you need to remember to review and revise your will when certain events occur.

Some events that can prompt a need for revision of your will include:


Getting married may prompt you to make changes to your will. There are many assets that your spouse will automatically inherit if you pass away first, but not everything works that way. Talk to your estate lawyer about the updates you need to make after you get married.


Getting a divorce does not automatically remove your former spouse from your will. If you don’t address the issue, your assets may go to them, instead of your children or any other loved ones in your life.

Adoption or birth of a child.

You may expect your child’s other parent will still be around to care for them when you’re gone. But what if that’s not the case? A will does more than just bequeath a monetary inheritance – it allows you to determine who will take care of your children if you and their other parent are no longer living. Something so important should not be left up to probate court to decide.

Your children have reached the age of 18.

Your children may still be beneficiaries in your will, but the way you’ve dictated how they will receive their inheritance could change. For example, maybe you decided they shouldn’t get everything at once, so you set them up to receive a portion by age 20, another portion at age 30, and a third portion at age 40. Now that they are adults, you may feel differently about this split.

Someone named in the will is deceased.

The loss of a loved one who has been named as one of your beneficiaries could cause a shift in your estate. You may want to revisit your will and do some recalculations.

You have recently come into some money or valuable assets.

Maybe your portfolio has suddenly increased, or a family member has gifted you with a sizable amount of assets. Ensure that everything is properly distributed by adding it to your estate.

There’s been a change in the laws.

A major tax law was recently passed. This law was important because, among other things, it increased the size of the estate tax exemption. Changes in state and federal laws can help or hurt your estate, so be sure to keep up on them and act accordingly.

Contact a North Carolina Will Attorney for Help

If you haven’t yet created a will, or it’s been a while and you think you need to make some changes, call an attorney for help. At Breeden Law Office, attorney Jonathan Breeden has assisted many residents in North Carolina with planning their estates. To schedule a consultation of your case with a will attorney, contact us today at (919) 661-4970.


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