How Often Should you Review and Update your Will?

New Rules of Court and Dispute Resolution Processes
November 22, 2010
Executor 101
January 24, 2011
New Rules of Court and Dispute Resolution Processes
November 22, 2010
Executor 101
January 24, 2011
Show all

How Often Should you Review and Update your Will?

The life expectancy of your Will is very important.  In Medicine Hat, I have seen and administered Wills that were 30 years old (and older).  Lawyers are concerned the Will they are drafting for you might be the only Will you ever prepare, so we want the Will to be effective as long as possible.  This is the reason lawyers in Medicine Hat ask you about how you want to divide your estate among yet to be born children and grandchildren.

Like a photograph, your estate planning documents are a reflection of your personal and financial circumstances, goals and values as at the date they were signed. Since that time, you may have experienced changes in one or more of these areas. Those important changes may not be incorporated in your estate planning documents.

In answer to the question, you should review your Will at least every 5 years, or when a significant life or financial event occurs that impacts your estate plan.

Reviewing your Will does not necessarily involve your lawyer.  It does mean pulling out the Will, reading it, and asking yourself: “Does my Will still meet my estate goals at the present time, and into the (near) future?”

Reviewing your estate plan with your lawyer also makes sense.  The laws that affect your estate plan change over time.

In February 2012, the Wills and Succession Act, (WSA) became law in Alberta. The WSA affects the law concerning Wills. These changes may affect your estate plan.

Ask yourself whether any of the following events have occurred in your life since you have prepared your Will:

  • I have gotten married
  • I have divorced or separated
  • I have lived in a common law relationship for more than 3 years or have had children with my common law spouse
  • I have entered into a second marriage or common law relationship where there are children from one or both sides of the family  (step children)
  • I have experienced my spouse dying or becoming mentally incapacitated
  • I have had children
  • I have a child with a permanent disability which impacts their ability to live independently from me and to earn a livelihood
  • I have a grandchild or grandchildren who live with me
  • I have purchased property in another province or in the United States
  • I have incorporated a company or purchased shares in a private company, farming operation, etc.
  • my personal representative (executor) or guardian in my Will died, became mentally ill or moved to another country
  • a beneficiary in my Will moved to another country
  • I have received a significant inheritance
  • I have been concerned about how my child’s troubled marriage might impact my estate plan
  • I have been concerned about how a beneficiary of my estate might contest my Will
  • my accountant or financial planner has advised me there are tax issues that will affect my estate plan


– any of these changes apply to your situation; or,
– you are interested in knowing how the WSA may apply to your circumstances;

please contact us.

Les Scholly
Les Scholly helps you navigate the turning points of life. He is a partner with Pritchard & Co. Law Firm, LLP and member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). Contact Les at 403-527-4411 or at