Tax expert Julian Block writes on Accounting Web to explain why people should plan their wills in advance.

He explains that certain events should trigger people to reassess their wills. For example, if your family gets bigger or if your financial situation changes dramatically, you should look over your will. If your family status changes, an asset mentioned in the will is sold, or if you move to another state, again, your will should be changed to reflect that.

When checking your will, it is important to check that every beneficiary and executor named is still alive and beneficiary designations for insurance policies, IRAs, and retirement plans are updated. Not doing the necessary maintenance on your will could mean that the money will go to someone other than you had intended.

If you die without a will, all of your assets be dealt with according to your state’s intestacy laws. Often, your money will be taxed heavily and unnecessarily. A will should also include a letter of instructions where you explain the locations of all personal papers and assets.

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Economics, Finance and Investing