Once you have made a Will it is vital that you keep it up to date and change it to reflect any major lifestyle changes.
A Will that is out of date can cause great distress and provoke bitter disputes after your death. It is only by having a current Will in place that you can be sure that those you love are provided for after your death and spared additional suffering and expense
If your Will has not been legally updated there may be no way of preventing your money and possessions going to people who you would not have wished to benefit.
The most common changes which affect a Will are:
- Getting married or registering a civil partnership; this will revoke an existing Will unless this was anticipated.
- Getting divorced, separating or dissolving a civil partnership.
- The birth or adoption of children.
- Deaths in the family.
- The purchase or sale of property or businesses.
You cannot simply amend a Will after it has been signed and witnessed, as these changes will not necessarily be legally valid. The only legal way of changing a Will is to write a new Will or add a codicil. A codicil is ideal for making minor alterations such as adding new legacies or gifts, changing or adding an executor or changing or adding named guardians for any children under 18 years of age. The codicil must be signed and witnessed and kept with the original Will.
If there are a number of changes, or major differences to family or business circumstances, then it is advisable to seek legal advice about drafting a new Will.
How we can help
At Else Solicitors we can offer a sensitive and understanding service in difficult times. We will advise you on tax-related issues and ensure that you have not accidentally changed your primary intentions by adding new beneficiaries to your Will.