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When to Update Your Will

September 12, 2014  |   Posted by :   |   Blog

wills and probate solicitor Thames Valley

Once you make a will there’s often a strong temptation to file it away and forget about it forever – after all, it’s not the most light-hearted document you’ll ever draw up. But now and again, certain situations crop up which require dusting off your will and making a few changes. Your solicitor will be able to help you work out when alterations need to be made and what you will need to change – the following list covers most of the major life events that may be cause for amendment:

  • Making large investments: The purchase or sale of property and expensive assets all need to be detailed in your will if you wish to have a say over who these assets are passed onto in the event of your death. The same goes for starting a business or any significant financial change – get in touch with your solicitor as soon as possible to make sure your investments are protected.
  • Getting married: Any existing will is cancelled when you get married or enter into a civil partnership, so it is essential to update your will when you enter into a new relationship. Insurance policies, savings, and pensions should also be reviewed – your solicitor should be able to help you sort out any appropriate changes. You may also wish to consider a pre- or post-nuptial agreement. These documents echo many of the elements of a will and will protect your assets in the case of divorce.
  • Having children/becoming a grandparent: Having a baby often provides the impetus for people to make their first will, inspiring them to make sure they continue to look after their children even after they’re gone. If you have children, nieces, nephews or other dependents who you’d like to benefit from your will, it’s important to amend it to include them.
  • Getting divorced: After a divorce you’ll need to rewrite your will to reflect the changes in your situation, adjust the value of your assets, and update your beneficiaries and wishes. This might include property, business, gifts, individual items, and savings. Work with your solicitor during and after the process of separation to make all the appropriate alterations to your will.
  • Losing a spouse or parent: The grieving process is unfortunately too often interrupted by sorting out paperwork, but at some point it makes sense to amend your own will to take into account any inheritance or new assets. A family solicitor will be able to help you through this difficult time and offer advice on what steps to take next.
  • Financial problems: If your financial situation has been affected by the recession, redundancy, bankruptcy or divorce and you believe that the terms of your will might be affected, seek advice from your solicitor to make sure that your wishes can still be met.
  • Changes to your health (or your spouse’s health): If you are facing serious health problems, making practical preparations and plans for the future can be something of a comfort, knowing that your loved ones will be provided for. You may also wish to appoint power of attorney and probate to a trusted family member, friend, or solicitor in the event that you are unable to make your own decisions.
  • Changes in the law: Your solicitor will be able to keep you up to date on any changes to the laws surrounding inheritance tax, savings, trust funds, or other related issues that may affect your existing will.

Regular reviews of your will ensure that it continues to reflect your wishes. If you need help with writing or changing a will, get in touch with the wills and probate team at Frances Lindsay & Co, or check out our guide to will jargon and will preparation to get everything in order before you book an appointment.

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