Personal finance expert Dave Ramsey has joked that to show you hate your family, "leave unclear instructions and no will." Without knowing your final wishes, those close to you could fight over your estate or wind up paying your end-of-life costs themselves. If your loved ones struggle to manage the probate process, the burden may also affect them physically and emotionally.
If you have a will, you understand the importance of ensuring your final wishes are known ahead of time. But what if you don't update your will? It might not reflect your current life situation. It's best to review your will every three to five years or whenever you experience a major life change. Generally speaking, a new will supersedes an older one; probate laws, however, vary by state. To help prevent confusion and potential disputes, consider how to handle updates to your will.
According to a Caring.com survey, 56 percent of American adults know it's important to have a will, but only one in three has an estate planning document.