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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

How often should I update my Will?


I often see materials or hear speakers who tell me to update my Will every five years. That's not bad advice, but I know from experience that people (including me) don't do it. Many people I talk to can't remember the last time they looked at their Wills or tell me exactly how old their Wills are. So is there a better rule of thumb?


Yes. I believe it's a good idea to review your Will and other estate-planning documents when major events occur in your life or the life of your family. Those events include:


  • you get married (automatically revokes any Will you have in place)

  • you get divorced

  • your first child is born

  • your first grandchild is born

  • all of your children reach the age of majority

  • your spouse passes away

  • the executor of your current Will passes away

  • the beneficiaries named in your current Will pass away

  • you become estranged from your current executor or beneficiary

  • a beneficiary develops a problem such as an addiction

  • a beneficiary suffers mental incapacity

  • your financial status changes dramatically

  • you buy, start or sell a business

  • you buy or inherit property in another country


There are also reasons to review your Will that you may know nothing about, such as changes to the succession or tax laws, or new products available (e.g. RDSP, TFSA).

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