Once you have executed your Will, you may be excused for thinking that job is done and you do not need to look at it again. However, this is not necessarily the case and there may be a change in your circumstances which means your Will should be renewed to ensure that your last wishes are carried out at the time of your death.
How often you need to update your Will will depend on key changes during your life. Typically, these will include;
- Death of a guardian
Once a child is born or adopted, it is advisable to stipulate care provision for them in your Will; ie the name of a guardian in the event of your death. Should the guardian die, it is in the child’s best interests that the Will is amended with the name of a new guardian.
- Death of executor
When drawing up the original Will, you should have named executors. Obviously, should an executor die, the Will should be amended, naming a new executor.
- The birth or adoption of a child
No child, whether born into the family or adopted, automatically becomes a beneficiary of the Will. This means you will have to write the child into it. Your Will can also be used to stipulate provision for the child following your death such as care, and can be updated to include any guardian.
If you are getting (or are already) divorced, once it is finalised, any inclusion of your ex-spouse in the Will is considered null and void. The same applies if they are named as an executor. So you should update the Will to include a new executor and review the beneficiaries.
- Marriage or civil partnership
If you get married or enter into a civil partnership, your Will should be updated to include your spouse/ civil partner if you wish them to be the beneficiary of your estate.
- Separated from a long term partner
You may have been in a long term relationship and included your partner in your Will. Should you separate, your ex-partner will remain included in the Will. If you do not wish him/her to benefit from your estate following your death, you should amend the Will to remove them.
- On moving house
On moving house you should review your Will to ensure it takes your new property into account. It should also be used to take into account the sale of your previous property, to ensure it has not affected the terms of the existing Will.
- Any changes in your personal financial situation or changes to inheritance tax laws
Should there be any changes in your personal finances or in inheritance tax (IHT), your Will may need to be renewed to take these factors into account. If you fail to do this, some parts of your Will might become invalid on your death, or your beneficiaries may not benefit as you had wished.
What is included in a Will is very much a personal matter, and the same applies when deciding whether to renew it. If you are considering renewing your Will or pondering whether it needs to be changed, it may be worth your while to seek advice from one of our specialist Wills lawyer by calling 01908 689317.
Even if you have not undergone any life changes, but you have not updated your Will for several years, it is worth considering whether it needs to have an update. It is advised that a Will should be checked every five years to see if it needs updating. If you feel it does not reflect your current wishes then call one of our specialist Wills lawyer with a view to renewing it.
It may also be in your beneficiaries’ best interests that your Will is registered, so it can be accessed easily following your death. In order to do that, please contact us so we can place the Will on the Register.