You may amend your will at any time. In fact, it's a good idea to review it periodically and especially when your marital status changes. At the same time, review your beneficiary designations for your 401(k), IRA, pension, and life insurance policy since those accounts will be transferred automatically to your named beneficiaries when you die.
Combined with a Trust
A last will and testament is also useful when you have a trust, a legal mechanism that allows you to put conditions on how your assets are distributed after you die and often lets you minimize gift and estate taxes. However, you still need a will since most trusts deal only with specific assets, such as life insurance or a piece of property, but not the sum total of your holdings.
Even if you have what's known as a revocable living trust, in which you can put the bulk of your assets, you still need a pour-over will. In addition to letting you name a guardian for your children, a pour-over will ensures all the assets you intended to put into the trust are put there even if you fail to retitle some of them before your death.
Any assets not retitled in the name of the trust are considered subject to probate. As a result, if you haven't specified in a will who should receive those assets, a court may decide to distribute them to heirs you did not choose.
Wills and Family Law
To learn more about how a last will and testament benefits you, call Gibson Law Firm LLC in North Charleston, South Carolina, today. Our law firm also helps with family law issues, including divorce and child custody.