Individuals with assets in North Carolina should know when it is time to create a will – and when to change it. People generally first think about creating a will after having their first child, but it is never too early to speak with a trusts and estates attorney.

Once a will is created, it will likely need to be updated from time to time, such as when another child is born in the family. Wills should also be updated when the executor of the will, who is likely a parent, passes away. When children grow older and more mature, they may be good choices to replace parents as executors of the will.

Unfortunately, parents may need to account for times when their children are unable to protect themselves, such as if the child develops a drug addiction or credit problems. In this scenario, parents could assign someone to manage a child’s money (even an adult child) and only allow spending on certain items.

Individuals should also be cognizant of questionable new in-laws, whom they probably want to keep out of the will. It is also important to consider whether friends and family members have any problems between them and whether steps need to be taken to prevent one of them from contesting the will.

Individuals with wills should consult with an estate planning & trust planning attorney who stays current on new legislation passed in Congress, which can affect how taxes or assets of a will are distributed. For instance, the Tax Cuts and Job Act changed how IRA retirement accounts are inherited. Other events that should prompt people to think about changing their wills include coming into a windfall of money, such as an inheritance, or if they are about to go or have just gone through a divorce.