According to reports, over half of people have not updated their Will, often because they are not aware of the need to do so.
If you have prepared a Will, then you are ahead of the curve. But, not reviewing your Will and taking any changes into account can mean that your final wishes may not be carried out. So, when do you need to update your Will and why?
How often should you update your Will?
How long ago was your Will drafted? Experts agree that, as well as reviewing your Will after any significant life event, it’s also worth doing every five years.
Changes to your finances, fluctuations in property values, regulatory/tax amendments and a whole range of other factors could mean that your carefully drafted Will no longer reflects your situation and wishes.
Reasons to review your Will
As well as considering your Will at regular intervals, there are many circumstances that may require it to be checked and potentially updated. For example:
When your family circumstances change
Most people don’t know that getting married automatically invalidates a Will. However, getting a divorce does not. Instead, if you end a marriage or civil partnership, your Will works as if your spouse has died. So, if they are listed as an executor, they will no longer fulfil this role. Likewise, anything you have left to them will no longer take effect unless you expressly state this. Ending a relationship may also require you to update your Will to take into account any stepchildren.
The birth of children and grandchildren should also instigate a Will review, as well as the death of any beneficiaries.
Ultimately, it is advisable that you review your Will following any significant changes to your family and personal life.
When your financial circumstances change
If you have experienced a substantial increase or decrease in wealth, you should review your Will. For example, you should check your Will if you buy or sell a home (or other property), if you start or sell a business, or if you inherit any money or property. In such circumstances, there may be tax consequences that need careful consideration. Even small alterations could mean you want to change how your assets are dispersed.
If your personal circumstances change
Very often people decide that they want a charity to benefit once they are gone. Or if you need care, you may want to use your Will to protect your estate from the cost of fees and assistance.
Drawing up a Will is not a one-time task. Speak to one of our expert team by calling 0800 019 4557 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to ensure your Will is updated, and your wealth is passed on in line with your wishes.