Once you have written your Will, it important to remember that you shouldn’t just leave it alone.
Your circumstances are likely to alter during your lifetime, so you need to regularly review and revise your Will. Keeping it up-to-date can ensure that your wishes are fulfilled and assets go to the right people, while minimising the risk of disputes arising after you pass away.
Our Wills, trust and probate solicitors recommend that you look at your Will every five years or following a significant change in your personal or financial circumstances. We have outlined the major moments in your life that would require you to amend and update your Will, which our specialist legal team can help with.
Getting married, divorced or separated
Once you tie the knot, your Will is automatically revoked. Therefore, you need to review it after you get married to add your new spouse or civil partner and reconsider your financial situation. It is also possible to execute a Will in contemplation of marriage once your plans are clearly set.
On the other hand, once your divorce is finalised in the Courts, any aspect of your Will referring to your ex will be ignored. It is important to remember that if something happens to you whilst going through divorce proceedings, your current Will still applies which can result in assets passing to your spouse despite the fact you were due to divorce. Therefore, we would recommend that you review your Will when starting to think about divorcing or separating from your partner.
Having a child
Following the birth of a new child or grandchild, you can look to include the new addition to your family in your Will. For example, if you have made previous plans to divide or pass down certain assets to your children, nephews, nieces or grandchildren, you may want to add the new arrival as an heir so that they are suitably provided for.
You should also organise a guardian or guardians in your Will for your children in case something happens to you before they reach the age of 18.
Moving house or acquiring a business
Changing addresses or adding to your property portfolio can result in your Will and trusts requiring an update. You need to specify exactly who the house will pass to, whilst making sure that any financial responsibilities related to the house will be taken care of.
If you acquire any interests in a business, you should review your Will as such interests may benefit from Business Property Relief, meaning the assets are 100% free from inheritance tax. There are special provisions to include in your Will in order to benefit from this relief.
When an executor or beneficiary passes away
If an heir or executor dies before you do, you need to leave any assets or responsibilities that you were providing to them to another person or group of people. When creating a new Will with Davis Blank Furniss, our solicitors can discuss default provisions with you to make sure that your assets pass to the people you want them to in every possible scenario.
Change in financial circumstances
If your financial situation changes significantly, you may need to include additional provisions within your Will to mitigate any inheritance tax. Our legal team can provide you with information about estate planning and to what extent your estate will be subject to inheritance tax, while helping you to review your Will based on the assets you have at that time.
When else should you review your will?
Whilst we recommend reviewing your Will after life-changing moments, you should also look over it with a solicitor every five years or so. This can help you to determine whether anything else has affected your Will, such as the financial success of a loved one or a family disagreement.
Davis Blank Furniss solicitors can help you to update your Will and any trusts, whilst they can also draft up a separate Letter of Wishes detailing the reasons behind your decisions so that you can rest safe in the knowledge that your requests will be adhered to once you are gone.
Contact us on 0800 0284 396 to find out more about our legal services, or read our Wills, trusts and probate brochure for further information.