You did what you were supposed to, and you wrote your will. Congratulations! Now it’s tucked safely away in a drawer, file, or security box. But when was the last time you looked at your will to ensure everything is still up to date? If it was more than five years ago, or if your life circumstances have changed significantly, it’s time to take out that will, review it, and see if a makeover is wise.

It is a common misconception that wills are a “once-and-done” task. But the reality is that they can become outdated quickly. Consider an average couple: They diligently create wills shortly after getting married. But a few years later—after a layoff, a first home, two children, a start-up business, a new retirement plan, and then a second home—they have not even taken those wills out of the drawer once. Their lives have changed in big ways; their wills need to change, too.

Time Well Spent

Of course, wills are not fun. Who likes to think about their own mortality? But deep down, we all want to be prepared for the future. Making a commitment to review an existing will is time well spent—for your sake and for your heirs.

Consider this: Most of us write (or review) our will after a friend, loved one, or spouse dies; before traveling to a faraway place; or when suffering from an unexpected illness. The urgency of acting quickly and under duress may lead to omissions, missed opportunities, or even mistakes. Writing or revising a will is serious business; it’s not the time for a hurried decision. Instead, conduct a will makeover when there’s no looming deadline, emotional life circumstance, or emergency medical situation. Take your time. Concentrate on making sound decisions. Your will is an opportunity to make a lasting statement about what is most important to you. You owe it to yourself and your family.

During this important process, please consider a gift through your will to IEEE—the organization that has been a part of your life for a substantial amount of time—by including a bequest to the IEEE Foundation, IEEE’s philanthropic partner. Visit the IEEE Foundation website at to learn about all your giving options or contact Daniel DeLiberato, CFRE, IEEE Foundation development officer, at +1 732 562 5446 or to hold a private conversation about what is right for you.