Over half of people with Wills have not updated them, according to a recent online poll. The survey found that while people have started to recognise the importance of Wills when it comes to looking after loved ones and protecting assets, the majority are still unaware of the need to review a Will regularly. Let us look at how to update a Will in this article.
As life changes over time, a Will may need to be updated to reflect this. It is generally recommended that you review a Will at the time of any significant life event, or otherwise every five years.
When do you need to update your Will?
As well as changes in your life that could impact or invalidate your Will, there will also be changes in the law from time to time that could affect your estate.
For example, if you have made a Will, it will become invalid if you marry unless it was specifically made in contemplation of the marriage.
Changes to Inheritance Tax or other rules could also affect the amount you are able to leave to your loved ones.
If you are going through any of the following events it is advisable to review your Will and make any necessary changes:
- The birth of a child or grandchild
- Buying a home or other property
- Inheriting money or other assets
- Separation or divorce
- Sale of a home or other property
- Starting a second family
- If you need care and assistance
- The death of someone named in your Will, to include executors and guardians
Any of these situations could have an impact on your Will. For instance, inheriting money could mean an increase in your estate’s Inheritance Tax liability. There might be a chance to legitimately reduce this by having a new Will drawn up to better deal with your situation.
If you spend a substantial amount of money, such as on care fees, this will reduce the amount of your residuary estate. If you have left gifts of money in your Will, these will take priority which means that those receiving a share of the residue may receive less than you anticipated.
Updating your Will is easy
It is a simple job to update your Will. This should not be done by writing on the original but is usually done by having a new Will drafted. It is an opportunity to look at all of the provisions of your Will and see what you would like to change.
As well as looking at the financial provisions you are making, you should also make sure that the appointments you have made are still appropriate. For instance, do you still want the same executors that you have named in your original Will? If their circumstances have changed, they might not be as willing or able to take on what can be quite a time-consuming role.
Similarly, if you have named guardians for any children who are aged under 18, you can consider whether they are still the right choice.
By speaking to a professional Wills expert, you can also check that your Will is structured in the most efficient way possible so that your estate’s liabilities will be minimised and your assets will be protected. This could mean leaving your spouse or partner a life interest in your shared home, rather than an outright gift so that you can be sure that it is ultimately passed on to your children.
At Elm Legal Services we can go through your wishes with you, making sure that your loved ones will be provided for and that your estate will benefit them as you would want.
By updating your Will, you will have the peace of mind of knowing that your family will be looked after when the time comes and that you have done all you can for them.
Our Wills and Trusts experts can discuss your situation with you and draw up a tailor-made Will on your behalf. We can answer any questions you may have and ensure that your Will directs your assets exactly where you want them to go.
If you would like to speak to one of our specialist Wills and Probate lawyers, call us now on 0117 952 0698 or Contact Us and we will be happy to explain the options available to you without obligation.