Keeping your Will up to date

With 7 billion people in the world and 66 million in the UK you imagine that estate planners would be run off their feet writing Wills but the truth is that it is estimated over half the population of the UK don’t have a valid Will (the researched figure from a recent Royal London study is around 54%).

So if you do have a Will, first of all well done – because writing a Will is one of the most important things you can do to control the distribution of your estate and protect your family should the worst happen.

There are so many reasons that good estate planning is important – such as protecting vulnerable dependants; having control over what happens to your children when you’re not here; and ensuring that your legacy reaches the people you want it to. For more information on why you should write a Will check out this earlier BLOG

However, just because you’ve written a Will doesn’t mean that is the end of it. The Society of Will Writers advise that everyone should review their Will every 3-5 years. That doesn’t mean it necessarily needs updating but you should make sure that any life changes are reflected and represented in your Will.

You may wish to review your Will in the following circumstances:

  • Marriage – if you get married, this will automatically make any prior Will void – unless that Will includes a “contemplation of marriage” clause.
  • Divorce – if you get divorced, your Will acts as if your former spouse has died.  This may not be what you want to happen.
  • Death of executors – legally you only need one executor, but it is preferable to name more than one.  If all of your executors have died, you should amend your Will to add new ones – or your Will will not be valid.
  • Major change of financial circumstances – if you win the lottery or receive a large inheritance you should review your Will to reflect your changed tax position (I will join you on your world cruise to write it if you wish!).  Also if your assets decrease, you may want to review any money gifts in your Will to ensure that there will be assets left for the residual beneficiaries.
  • There has been a change in the law that affects your existing Will.  For my existing clients, I will contact you if this happens, and arrange a Will review.

This is not an exhaustive list, please give me a ring if you are not sure whether your current Will needs to be changed.

You do NOT need to amend your Will just because:

  • You or one of your executors or beneficiaries moves house.
  • One of your executors or beneficiaries changes their name – this can be proved by legal documents such as a marriage certificate, when the time comes.
  • You have more children or grandchildren – provided that any gifts are stated to be given to “my children” or “my grandchildren” rather than each by name.

There are many reasons that a review is important but you don’t have to do it alone. I offer reviews after a 5 year period to existing clients .

I will also make a free no-obligation visit to review a Will made by another lawyer.  I would only charge if I draft you a new Will.

If you want to review your Will email me at amanda@alhlegal-willwriters.co.uk or give me a call on 0115 878 0417.