5 Reasons to Update Your Will

Once you’ve made your Will, then that’s it right? Why would you need to review it or update it?

Whether or not you need to update your Will depends very much on whether your circumstances have changed and if so, how. It may well be that your Will has been prepared in anticipation of the change(s) in which case it probably won’t need updating, but it’s always worth checking!

fountain pen writing a will on paper

Here are the top 5 reasons that you may need to change your Will:

1. Marriage / Civil Partnership

Unless your Will has been prepared “in anticipation of” your marriage or civil partnership and includes a specific clause to say it must not be revoked by that ceremony taking place, then your Will is revoked as you sign the Register.

There may therefore be a period of time after your marriage or civil partnership when you do not have any valid Will in place. The intestacy rules are unlikely to meet your wishes, and so it is important that you contact your solicitor ASAP either before or after the wedding, to ensure that you have a Will in place that does exactly what you want it to.

2. Separation

If you have separated from your spouse or civil partner, but are not yet formally divorced then if they are named in your Will they will still inherit as though you were together.

The change to the Will may be as simple as removing them from it entirely, but this is not always the case if, for example, you have children together.

Updating your Will to take account of the breakdown of your relationship will mean one less thing to worry about whilst the formal process of divorce or dissolution of the civil partnership is being completed.

3. New Children / Grandchildren

If, since you made your Will, more children or grandchildren have been born (or are expected imminently) or adopted, then these new additions to your family may not be covered by your Will.

It may be that your Will simply says “my children” or “my grandchildren” in which case your expanding family is covered, but if the Will names individuals, then the new children or grandchildren will not be included and will not inherit anything.

Updating your Will to add in new arrivals, or to change named individuals to “children” or “grandchildren” can future-proof it so that no matter how many children or grandchildren you leave, they will each get a share of the allotted inheritance.

family smiling and looking at new baby

4. Death of a named beneficiary

If someone that you have named in your Will dies, or a relationship breaks down, you might want to update your Will to remove that person from it – this applies to friends and family equally.

Your Will might already say what should happen to someone’s inheritance if they die before you (for example it might pass to their children) and if you are happy with what the Will says about this, then you don’t need to update it.

But, if your Will doesn’t specify, or you no longer want it to pass in the same way, then you need to update your Will to make sure that it meets with your wishes as they are now.

5. Estrangement or change of mind

If you have changed your mind about a beneficiary – either an individual, charity or church – since making your Will, then you need to update it as soon as possible to remove them.

There may have been a family falling-out or estrangement, which means that you no longer want a particular relation to receive anything under your Will.

Friends can drift apart, even without any specific falling-out, and it may be that someone who was very much part of your life when you made your Will is no longer in it at all.

As well as this, you may have supported a charity, church or other organisation at the time your Will was made, but since changed your views so that they are no longer the organisation you want to benefit from your Will.

In all these circumstances, you should update your Will as soon as possible to ensure that the gifts you have made to these people or organisations are removed, or changed so that they go to someone else, or another organisation, instead.

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The content of this blog post is for information only and does not constitute formal legal advice and should not be relied upon as advice. Thornton Jones Solicitors Limited accepts no liability for any such reliance upon this content. Where the post includes links to external websites, Thornton Jones Solicitors Limited accepts no responsibility for the content of such sites. Any link to a third party website should not be construed as endorsement by Thornton Jones Solicitors Limited of any content, products or services which are outside our direct control. 

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