One of the benefits of writing a will long before you need it is that you can always update it. You’re free to do this whenever you want. Many people put off estate planning until they are older, but it may be far better to make that plan early and then just update it as you age. It’s typically very quick and easy.
But what if you get close to the end of your life — perhaps you have a diagnosis for a disease you can’t shake or you just can feel your health declining — and you realize that you want to make a change. Can you do it?
You can, but there are risks
Technically, yes, you can update your will whenever you desire, and there’s no day that is “too late” for an alteration. However, there are some potential risks to doing this.
For instance, an heir may claim that a sibling used undue influence. Perhaps you need constant care, and one of your children provides it. If the change in your will leaves more assets to that child and takes them from others, those who lost out may accuse the caretaker of manipulating you or even threatening to withhold care.
Another potential reason for a will contest could be mental capacity. Your heirs may feel that you lacked the capacity to really understand the changes you were making so close to the end of your life. They may claim that the older versions of the will are more accurate and should be used.
If your goal is to avoid conflicts between family members, it’s important to consider all of the legal steps you can take and the potential ramifications — both good and bad — that they may have.