Virginia residents should ensure that their will is regularly updated. Many life events can impact who is a potential beneficiary or heir. If individuals fail to update their last will and testament when necessary, the document may not be an accurate reflection of their wishes given their new situation.

For couples who get married, both parties should make sure to create their own new will. The majority of states require that a percentage of a married person’s estate should be awarded to the spouse if the person dies. For married individuals who want to make other arrangements for their estate, they should make sure to detail this in their wills.

People who reside with their significant other in certain states, including Iowa, Alabama and Colorado, may be considered married according to the Common Law Marriage laws in their state. This is important as such couples might be treated by probate laws as married. There are typically many requirements to be met in order for a couple to have a common law marriage, so couples should make sure to check the laws of the state in which they reside.

A divorce is another life event that should prompt a will update. In some states, gifts that are bequeathed to a spouse in a will are revoked if a divorce occurs. Divorcees will want to update their wills to specify what should be left to an ex-spouse or if the gifts are to be distributed to someone else.

A simple wills lawyer may assist clients with drafting a will that properly specifies how their estate should be handled upon their death. The attorney may advise clients about what should be included in the will in order to prevent state law from determining how certain assets should be handled.