Your Will should be updated regularly enough to ensure the requests contained within it are not out-dated. If your Will doesn’t accurately reflect your wishes for the distribution of your estate at any point in time, the people whom you wish to benefit from your assets may be left so they are not provided for when you are gone. How often you should update your Will is dependent partially upon whether there have been any significant changes in your life recently, and upon when you last updated your Will.
Significant life changes will usually require you to make an update to your Will. Significant life changes include: –
- Birth of a child – a child is not automatically a beneficiary of your Will so you must write them into your Will, also when you have a child you will be concerned about who would care for them if you passed away. Update your Will to include a guardian for your child.
- Adoption of a child
- Divorce – once your divorce is finalised your ex-partner’s to your Will is considered void and if they are executor of the Will they will no longer be able to fulfil this role. Therefore you may have to update the Will to include a new executor.
- Marriage/civil partnership
- Death of an executor
- Separation from a long-term partner – if you have included your partner in your Will they will not be automatically excluded from it should you separate. Ensure that you update your will accordingly.
- Moving house
- Death of a guardian
- Changes in your financial circumstances or changes in inheritance tax law – In these situations you may need to make updates to your Will to plan for inheritance tax.
What will require a change to your Will is a personal matter and everyone’s circumstances are different. If you are unsure whether the change in your life should mean a change to your Will – contact a specialist Wills lawyer for advice.
If you have not looked over your Will in a number of years this is another indicator that you should check to see whether it needs updating, regardless of whether or not you have experienced any of the events outlined above. As a general rule you should check your Will and consider updating it every 5 years. If your Will is not reflective of your current wishes you should contact a lawyer to help you update it.
If your Will requires updating you Will either have to fully redraft the Will or you may be able to update it via codicil. Talk to a Will writing lawyer to find out which method is appropriate for you.