View Full Version : When to Write or Rewrite a Will

06-11-2012, 01:16 AM
As a Calgary will lawyer one common question from clients I usually encounter is when should a person write, or rewrite, a will. The first part of the answer is easy. If you are an adult and do not have an existing will, you should write one. That being said, wills arenít necessarily cheap. Most people will wait until they are gainfully employed, at least a few years out of school, and often in a stable relationship before will writing is even considered. I donít necessarily advocate waiting until you have money, are married, or have children before you write a will, but Iím realistic enough to know that the majority of us are more concerned about almost everything other than writing a will (Facebook status updates, what Kim Kardashian is doing, etc.) until life changes prompt a re-evaluation of priorities.

It is difficult to say categorically when someone should rewrite a will. I usually advise parents of minor children to rewrite their wills sometime after their children have reached adulthood. If you get married or divorced (or, for that matter, separated) you should likely rewrite your will. If you have children, or children from a new relationship, you may wish to rewrite your will. Having a beneficiary or executor die may prompt you to consider a rewrite. Becoming estranged from a beneficiary or executor may also suggest a revised will is in order. As well, having relatives become dependent on you may be an indication that your will should be re-examined. For example, if a parent, child, or sibling becomes disabled, and you are responsible for that personís wellbeing, then you may well have to make adequate provision for that person in your will. This is not, of course, an exhaustive list.

As a rule, it probably makes sense to have a look at your will at least once every six to twelve months. If your will still reflects your wishes and circumstances, then there is no need to change it. On the other hand, if changes ought to be made, there is no time like the present.