6 Reasons to Update Your Will
13 July 2021 by Aimee Edwards
Once clients have finalised and signed their Wills, it is often the case that the Will is put in a safe place and forgotten about. However, your Will is an important document and we recommend you review it.
As time goes on and circumstances in your life change, you should check that your Will still represents what you want to happen to your Estate when you pass away. It will depend on your personal circumstances but, as a guide, we suggest that once a year you review your Will.
There are numerous reason why you should update your Will and below is a short list of just some of the reasons as to why you might want to think about updating yours:
You get married
Once you get married any Will made prior to the date of your marriage becomes invalid, unless your Will specifically sets out that it is made in contemplation of marriage. Without a Will your Estate will pass in accordance with what are known as the ‘Intestacy Rules’ and that might not be what you want.
You have a baby or your children are still young
As a parent you will always want to make the best decisions for your children. If both parents were to sadly pass away before your children were 18 years old, it is likely that you would want to be the one deciding who should care for your children in that situation.
You can set out in your Will who you would wish to care for your children under the age of 18 if both parents have passed away. Whoever you nominate is known as a Guardian. You can also write a confidential letter of wishes to be kept alongside your Will which can set out some guidance for the Guardian. Before making any nomination it is important to talk to the proposed Guardian before you add this to your Will because the nomination is not binding and the Guardian can refuse.
Your children are now adult and might have children of their own
Once your children are adult and have children of their own, you might wish to change the provisions in your Will, make your children the Executors of your Will or add provision for your grandchildren.
Purchasing a house
Purchasing a house is a large investment and, generally, the largest asset that someone owns is their home. As a result, when you purchase a new property it is important to get legal advice and create a Will to set out what you wish to happen to the property if you were to pass away.
If you own a property with someone else the ability to leave your share of your property within your Will, and who your share goes to if you pass away without Will, depends on how you own the property.
If you are living with your partner in your new property then you both may also wish to discuss with a solicitor the rights to remain living in the property if one of you passed away. Again, these rights depend on how you own the property and what you specify is to happen to your respective shares on your death so it is important to seek legal advice.
A beneficiary passes away before you or becomes unable to manage any funds received from inheritance.
If someone named in your Will as a beneficiary has sadly passed away then you need to make sure that you are happy with the alternative provisions in your Will on any failed gifts. If you are not happy, then you should amend your Will.
If someone named in your Will as a beneficiary can no longer manage funds received from an inheritance on their own, you should seek advice as to what provisions can be put in your Will to ensure that person benefits from the funds they inherit when you pass away.
A change to the Executors
An Executor is the person, or people, named in your Will who will manage your Estate when you pass away. They have a duty to collect all the assets within your Estate, pay any liabilities due from your Estate and then distribute your Estate in accordance with your Will. If someone you have named as an Executor has passed away or they are no longer able to act as an Executor then you should look to update your Will to ensure you are happy with who you have chosen. If you are unsure of who to appoint then you can appoint a firm of solicitors and we are always pleased to act as your Executor alone or with a member of your family or a friend.
The above list is not an exhaustive list of reasons to review or update your Will. However, if you have not looked at your Will in a while, then I encourage you to consider reviewing it to make sure you are happy with it.
Currently Fisher Jones Greenwood Solicitors are running a free Wills campaign where we offer free Wills in return for a donation to charity. The choice of charity and the sum gifted is entirely up to the individual.
If you would like to make a Will or updating an existing Will please contact a member of our Wills, Life Planning, and Probate team –call 01206 700113 or email [email protected] to arrange an appointment.
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