Some types of pears and other fruit don’t change color as they ripen; you have to feel the softening. If you wait too long, you’ll eat overly sweet fruit or have to throw it away. Similarly, if your will has been safely tucked away for awhile, it may have passed its peak financial efficiency unnoticed.
A will that has been signed and witnessed stays valid until the time — if ever — when you revoke it. Your financial condition may have changed in ways your will doesn’t reflect. But unless you do something about it, your property will be transferred someday according to the provisions of your will.
Changes that may call for revisions
What kinds of changes can affect your will? Your estate may no longer look the way it did when you wrote your will — if your investments have grown, for example, or you have acquired additional assets. You may no longer own some of the assets that your present will transfers. There may have been family changes: marriages, divorces, deaths of heirs, births of possible additional heirs, and children or grandchildren reaching financial independence. And your present executor or personal representative may no longer be available to act for your estate.
It might take only one such change to compromise your estate plan. So your will needs a periodic professional review to make sure it stays in line with your family’s needs and your financial circumstances. It’s easy to put this review off, but if you delay, your assets could be distributed in a way that conflicts greatly with your current desires. Don’t risk it.
Wells Fargo Advisors does not provide legal or tax advice. Be sure to consult with your own tax and legal advisors before taking any action that could have tax consequences. Any estate plan should be reviewed by an attorney who specializes in estate planning and is licensed to practice law in your state.
• This article was written by Wells Fargo Advisors and provided courtesy of Ahwatukee Financial Advisor S. Kim DeVoss, CFP. Reach her at (480) 940-5519. Investments in securities and insurance products are: NOT FDIC-INSURED/NOT BANK-GUARANTEED/MAY LOSE VALUE. Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, Member SIPC, is a registered broker-dealer and a separate non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company.