When Should I Write My Will?

When Should I Write My Will?

Nobody enjoys thinking about his or her own death. Planning and organizing for what happens once you are gone can seem equally unpalatable. For that reason, estate planning – including writing a will – often falls to the bottom of the to-do list. But, creating an estate plan provides peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

There is no universal “right time” to compose a will, but the following life events should provide proper motivation to write your first will or amend an existing will.

When You Get Married – or Divorced or Remarried

Changes in significant relationships frequently trigger drafting or updating a will. Getting married, divorced or remarried may change who you would name as beneficiaries in your will. Blended families and encore marriages also present unique estate planning needs. Specifying your intentions clearly in your will can avoid inheritance disputes.

When You Have Children – and When They Become Adults

Adding children to your family is a critical reason to create or update your will, as most parents wish to specify which assets go to the children. Your children would most likely receive part of your assets if you died intestate (without a will), but intestacy laws vary by state and the distribution may not match your wishes. It is also important to name a guardian to take custody of any minor children in the event you and your spouse both pass away at the same time.

Your wishes for your children may change as they grow. So, consider revisiting your will along the way.

When You Start a Business

A will is a great way to pass the family business to your heirs or other co-owners. A succession plan details who will take over the management and ownership interests of your business. If you plan to leave your business to more than one person, think about how many shares of the business will go to each person.

When You Have Assets You Want to Protect

There is no set amount of money or assets needed to write a will. If you die without a will in place, however, you have no control over who receives your possessions. The court system and intestacy laws will determine the distribution of your assets. If you already have a will in place, consider reviewing and updating it after any large asset purchase such as a home, property or car. These may affect the value of your estate and may have estate tax implications.

When It’s Been A While

Over the years, your relationships, personal preferences and other factors may affect how you want to distribute your assets in your will. Be sure to revisit your estate plan frequently.

Fifth Third Bank does not provide tax or legal advice. Please consult your tax adviser or attorney before making any decisions or taking any action based on this information. This information is provided for educational purposes only and does not constitute the rendering of tax or legal advice. Fifth Third Bancorp provides access to investments and investment services through various subsidiaries, including Fifth Third Securities. Fifth Third Securities is the trade name used by Fifth Third Securities, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC, a registered broker-dealer and a registered investment advisor registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. Securities and investments offered through Fifth Third Securities, Inc. and insurance products: Are Not FDIC Insured | Offer No Bank Guarantee | May Lose Value Are Not Insured By Any Federal Government Agency | Are Not A Deposit Insurance products made available through Fifth Third Insurance Agency, Inc. © 2018 Fifth Third Bank Excerpt from Fifth Third Bank LegacyLink.