Chances are, if you’ve already made a Will, it was filed away long ago and more or less forgotten about. However, every so often, circumstances change, or situations arise that mean amendments need to be made, otherwise your wishes may not be accurately represented.
If you’ve been through a major life change lately – for example: moving house, getting divorced, gaining a grandchild – you may want to adjust your Will accordingly. Check the following list for general guidelines on when to consider updating your Will:
A change in marital status
Relationships change over time, and any new partners or changes to your marital circumstances need to be reflected in your Will if you want the right people to inherit when you’re gone.
Any existing Will is cancelled when you get married or enter into a civil partnership, so it’s vital that you update your Will or draw up a new one to include your new spouse. Similarly, it’s important to amend your will if you’re going through separation or divorce – particularly if your ex was named as an executor or sole beneficiary.
Adding or removing a beneficiary or executor
As your family grows, you may wish to add new grandchildren, step-children, adopted children, dependents, family members or other beneficiaries to your Will. Or you may find you need to remove a beneficiary or executor – for example if you get divorced, or someone named in your Will is no longer part of your life.
Changes to your circumstances or health
Any significant life change should be a prompt to update your Will, such as changing or losing your job, losing a family member, or suffering from health problems. Alongside your Will, Lasting Powers of Attorney are an added assurance that your wishes will be taken care of if you find yourself unable to make decisions on your own behalf in the future, whether that’s to do with your finances, welfare, or both.
Assets, finances and property
Buying or selling property, setting up a business, making investments, receiving inheritance, or suffering from financial problems – all your assets and liabilities need to be included in your Will and kept up to date to make sure your estate is protected and passed on to your beneficiaries.
Changes in the law
Your solicitor should inform you of any relevant changes to laws that might affect you – such as probate fees or inheritance tax – and you may wish to change your Will accordingly.
Having an up to date Will, probate arrangements, and Lasting Powers of Attorney helps to ensure that your loved ones are taken care of, and your wishes are taken into account if you find yourself unable to make decisions in the future.
Don’t go to the effort of making a Will and then just forget about it! Remember to keep it updated whenever your circumstances change. Your solicitor will be able to give you more specific advice on when to notify them of an alteration – or get in touch with the wills and probate solicitors at Frances Lindsay & Co for more information on making and updating your will.lasting powers of attorney, making a will, wills and probate