Reviewing Your Will
Else’s expert will solicitors are frequently asked “How often should you update your Will?”
There are no fixed rules on when you should update your Will. However, when a significant change takes place in your life reviewing your Will to reflect your present circumstances and wishes is a good idea.
When Should I Update My Will?
There are a number of situations and events that can occur in people’s lives that can affect their choices, their legal situation and their families.
You should consider changing your Will if you experience any of the following:
Changes To The Family Members Recognised In Your Will.
Overtime, you may welcome new additions, spouses and children, into your family and you may lose other members of it. When this happens, you need to update your Will because failure to do so may mean that your assets are not divided in the way you would wish upon your death.
Make sure your update your Will when you have or adopt new children, or if a close family member, trustee of your estate, or potential guardian for your children passes away.
A New Marriage Or Civil Partnership
Both of these life events automatically revoke any existing Will you may have had prepared. If you have would like to make arrangements for any of your assets to be inherited by a beneficiary that is not your new spouse/civil partner you need to make a new Will.
Wills are not automatically revoked when a divorce takes place. However, your former spouse/partner would not be allowed to act in the administration of your estate as Executor and any gift they were to receive under your Will would be revoked.
If you would like to make arrangements for them to deal with your estate, allocate guardians for your children, or make any other changes that reflect your new situation you need to add a Codicil (see explanation below) or make a new Will.
Legally, separation does not have the same effect on your will as divorce does. However, separation from a partner can mean very big changes in your life so you may need to revise your Will to reflect your change in circumstances.
It is important to keep an eye on the value of your estate to stay one step ahead of any inheritance tax liabilities.
You must also ensure that your estate is sufficient to provide for any legacies you may have left.
So if you experience any significant long-term changes to your finances you need to update your Will.
Property and other assets owned abroad
If you purchase property abroad, it is essential that you make a Will in that country to ease the administration of your estate. Different countries have different laws, and any existing Will you have may only take into account your UK assets.
Your Will may need to be updated when you move house to take into account of all new property and to ensure it is not affected by the sale of the old property. Even if your Will does not need updating we would recommend that you tell us that you have moved so that we can keep our records up to date.
What Is A Codicil?
It is illegal to amend/update your Will after it’s been signed and witnessed. The only way you can officially update a Will is via a legally-binding documented alteration called a Codicil. You must sign a Codicil and it must be witnessed by two witnesses.
If you would like to make major changes to your Will, we would simply recommend drafting a new Will rather than adding a Codicil. Else Solicitors recommend that you review your Will every three years to ensure that it fits with your current circumstances and wishes. If you would like more advice on Codicils or updating your Wills please Kathryn Caple on 01283 526200.