Changing Your Will


When you create a Will, it is not a permanent document that you can never change. This is good because our lives change often – we have children, grandchildren, marriages, divorces, births, deaths, etc. Your Will can be revised, or replaced if needed. If you need to change just a specific portion of your Will, you may decide to create a codicil to your Will. A codicil is a separate legal document that adds to your existing Will. Sometimes, though, you may have many changes to make to your Will. In this case, it may be best to replace your Will with a new one.

Some people make specific bequests in their Will, meaning that they leave specific property (such as a boat or jewelry) to someone. However, if the named property is missing from your estate, then it is considered “adeemed.” Ademption statutes govern the distribution of your belongings, and the state will take over if items are missing. It is best to update your Will if you sell, lose, or destroy property named in your Will. If a beneficiary named in your Will dies before you do, this might create a lapse situation depending on the language of your Will. It is best to specifically state in your Will where the property will go if the beneficiary dies before you, such as to the beneficiary’s children or to the residuary estate. If you have no specific provision for this situation, Indiana provides that any lapsed bequest will go into the residuary estate.



Insurance After You’re Gone

Life insurance

As with Wills and Trusts, there are many variations when it comes to insurance. The following are types of life insurance:

Whole Life: Sometimes called cash-value life insurance. You pay a monthly premium on a policy that will, upon your death, pay a predetermined fixed amount of money to your beneficiaries. A portion of the fixed premium is invested and another portion placed into an account that is accessible to the policy owner. It can be borrowed against as a loan, or the cash can be taken as the proceeds of the policy instead of the death benefit payout.

Universal Life: A type of whole life policy that guarantees a minimum return but the value of the policy can go up or down. If the policy makes more money, the return might be high enough to cover your premium payments.

Joint first-to-die or second-to-die: This is a policy held by two people, and the beneficiary is paid after the first person or second person dies. You decide the payout when you set the terms of the policy.

Term Life Insurance: This policy carries an annual premium and pays a specified death benefit to the beneficiary. However, it does not have a cash value so you cannot borrow money from it. The only payment is made to the beneficiary. The premium is based on the amount of insurance you purchase and how old you are. If you stop paying premiums, the death benefit is not paid.

Annual renewable: A policy that has an annual premium and can be renewed from year to year.

Decreasing: Premiums remain the same but benefit decreases over time.

Level: Coverage is guaranteed for a specific period of time or term at a specific premium.

Group: Employers frequently purchase a term life policy for each employee as an added benefit. Employees get a low rate and there is no income tax on the premiums for the first $50,000 of coverage.