How Often Should You Update Your Will

Easy Answer: You should review your will and other estate planning documents every 3-5 years, a change in assets, change in location or after a “life event” …

Periodically you are going to want to go through your list of heirs, representatives, guardians, trustees or executors. Consider whether their circumstances have changed in some way. For example, are they still of sound mind and capable of serving in the role you have designated? Have they passed away? If any of these have changed you are going to want to get with a Charleston Estate Planning Attorney and immediately update your Will.

What is a big life event?

One of the most important times to update or review your estate planning documents is if there is a big change in your life. This big change could be anything from a marriage, a birth of a child, a divorce or even the death of a close friend.

Another life event that should cause you to take a look at your estate planning documents is simply a change in your family or the relationship with your family. Your estate planning documents are your chance to “speak from the grave” or better stated outline exactly how you want your estate handled. This is more than just who gets money or property, in some cases it could be who bares the responsibility for who raises your children.  You want to make sure that your giving that responsibility to someone who can still handle it.

Changes in Assets

If your estate has experienced a substantial increase or decrease in value since you last drafted your will it is essential to take another look and potentially update your estate planning documents. Perhaps you have bought or sold a major asset (new home, quantity of stock, etc.) or started a business. Further, if you have new insurance policies or pension plans for which you can name beneficiaries in your Will then you need to meet with a Charleston Estate Planning Attorney to discuss the options and potential tax consequences.

Changes in Location

Individuals who have relocated to the Lowcountry by moving out of the state where they executed their Will, you should consult a Charleston Estate Planning Attorney to determine whether it is still valid. Typically, if the Will was properly executed according to the law of the state in which it was signed then the Will can pass title to the individuals property. However, this is not something you should leave to chance and you shouldn't assume that your old out of state Will is drafted in a manner that will still protect your assets the way you initially intended.


If you have any questions regarding your current estate plan, please do not hesitate to contact Charleston Estate Planning Attorney Trey Harrell at 843-608-0605 or by sending him an email at Attorney Trey Harrell and his team will walk you through this confusing process and do what they can to make sure your assets go where you desire.