When to change your will

If you’ve already done a will, you’re ahead of most people in terms of estate planning. However, don’t get too cocky. If it’s been a while since you’ve done your will, it may need some revisions. Here are some events that may warrant changing your will.

You’ve changed your marital status since doing your will

If you were single and now you’re married, or you were common-law or married and now you’re separated or divorced, it’s almost certainly a good idea to take a look at your will. In Alberta, it’s no longer the case that getting married invalidates a pre-existing will. That being said, that might still be the rule in other provinces or countries where you may still have property.

Now the rule in Alberta is that a gift to a spouse in a will may be void if you later separate from or divorce that spouse. At any rate, you probably don’t want your ex to get the bulk of your estate, and if your will still has your ex as a primary beneficiary, you’ll probably want to make some changes.

Your children are now adults

When your children were young, you had to worry about guardians and you likely appointed someone like a sibling to be an alternate executor in case you and your spouse both passed away. Now that your children have grown up, you don’t have to worry about guardians. Furthermore, it makes sense to consider appointing your children as alternate executors at some point after they reach adulthood.

Your executors or guardians have moved away or you’re no longer that close to them

If your executor or the appointed guardian for your children has moved away, or if you’ve grown apart in your relationship with a guardian or executor, then it makes sense to consider changing the will to appoint someone new to that role.

You now want to change the gifts you’ve left to others

Maybe you want to add or remove beneficiaries, or maybe you want to change the gifts that you are leaving to certain beneficiaries. If any of the above applies, then you should book an appointment with your lawyer to change your will.

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In Alberta, a person’s capacity to do a will, assuming capacity is an issue, is determined after the fact by a court.