The last will and testament is an essential aspect of most estate plans. Creating a decisive, legally binding document ensures your last wishes are honored and your family receives a share of your state.

While will creation is crucial, keeping the document updated is equally so. Your estate plan should change as your life does, or your family could be left at odds after you are gone. Kiplinger explains when updating your will is an absolute must to keep your estate protected.

You are getting a divorce

Divorce complicates estate matters, especially when you do not update your will. Even if there is little risk that your former spouse will receive your assets, your will must include your new spouse and any children that have resulted from the relationship. It is recommended you change your will after any major life event, including marriages, divorces, births, and adoptions.

A loved one develops a substance abuse problem

Leaving an inheritance to a family member is a great way to help them achieve goals, whether that is attending college or buying a home. While it is unfortunate, your plans must change if an heir develops a drug or alcohol problem after they are named in your will. In this case, you might consider starting a special trust for the person and creating terms for the inheritance. For instance, you can require your loved one to seek treatment before the money will become available.

Your executor is no longer available

The executor is the person you choose to carry out the actions of your will. This includes locating assets, paying debts and handing out inheritances. Being an executor is a lot of work, and some people may change their minds about the duties. Your executor may also die before you, which means the court would name a new representative if the change is not made within the will. You can also name a back up executor in the event the first choice is unavailable.