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Why You Should Regularly Update Your Will

Why You Should Regularly Update Your Will

Troy Werner and his family

Written by Troy Werner

Troy Werner has been an indispensable asset to The Werner Law Firm since joining in 2009, providing exceptional legal service to its clients.

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POSTED ON: May 31, 2024

Don't wait for the unexpected or procrastinate when adjusting your will like the late singer, Whitney Houston. Regular updates to your estate plan can protect you and your loved ones from future complications.

Preparing documents like wills, trusts, and powers of attorney will help make your passing easier for your loved ones. Such vital documents should change with your life circumstances. However, many adults never revisit their will after they write it. If you want your assets to do the best for your family, update your estate documents regularly.

What Can Happen If You Don't Update Your Will?

Whitney Houston's Costly Oversight

Whitney Houston's unfortunate passing in 2012 left behind an outdated will. She created it in 1993, a month before the birth of her daughter. At the time, Whitney Houston didn't expect to pass away before her daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, entered adulthood or built a fortune of $20 million.

The outdated will stipulated that Bobbi Kristina would inherit 10% of Houston's fortune at 21. By the time of Whitney Houston's passing, this represented a staggering $2 million. This failure to update left Bobbi Kristina burdened with grief and vast financial responsibility. It may also have contributed to Bobbi Kristina's own tragedy. Three years later, she died in a drug-related drowning incident like her mother.

Why Is It Crucial to Update Your Estate Plan?

If you want your loved ones to thrive even after you're gone, update your estate planning documents regularly, as explained by the University of Florida in their guide, 17 Reasons to Update Your Will. Instead of planning for some far-off future, write your will with today in mind and update as needed. Here are some critical times when you should consider updating your will:

  • Moving to a New State: Laws differ by state. If you move, review your estate plan with a local attorney to ensure that you follow the new regulations.
  • Marriage or Divorce: Ensure that your estate plan reflects your current marital situation.
  • Adding to Your Family: The birth or adoption of a new family member warrants revising your estate plans.
  • Changes in Your Assets: If assets or the total value of your estate have changed, it's advisable to update your will.

How Often Should You Update Your Will?

You should review your estate plan every three to five years. If you experience significant life events, you should make a special update to your will. Consult an experienced estate planning attorney and ensure that your documents reflect your wishes.

When Should You Consult an Estate Planning Attorney?

Anything that would make your old will outdated is a reason to consult an attorney. A possible reason to revise your estate could be a change in your familial relationships or the growth of your estate. Whatever your circumstances, an attorney can provide guidance tailored to your current needs.


Don't wait for the unexpected; regular updates to your estate plan can protect you and your loved ones from future complications. If you're uncertain whether your estate plan is current, contact our law firm to schedule a consultation. Our experienced team is ready to help ensure that your final testament is best for you and your loved ones.

Key Takeaways

  • Regular Updates Are Essential: You should change your will after major events, such as marriage, moving, or having children.
  • Protect Your Loved Ones: An up-to-date will can distribute your assets according to your wishes.
  • Consult Professionals: Keep your estate planning on track by regularly consulting an attorney.

While it is not necessary to be an estate planning attorney to update your will, it is recommended to consult with one to ensure that your changes are legally valid and properly executed.

If you need help setting up your estate plan or updating your will, we are always happy to help. Our probate attorneys in Los Angeles can guide you through it.

If you have any questions, schedule a free appointment with us through our online appointment page.

You can also read reviews from some of the hundreds of clients we have helped over the years.

References: AARP (September 2016), "Celebrity Estate Planning Mistakes"

University of Florida, "17 Reasons to Update Your Will"

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