Everyone should write a Will and update it when life’s circumstances change significantly. Your family and financial circumstances rarely remain the same indefinitely so when a major change happens in your life, it is also a time to reflect on whether your Will is still fit for purpose.
Aneesha Dhami, Wills, trusts and estate planning solicitor with Warners Solicitors in Kent tells you what is involved in changing your Will, and five reasons you might consider updating it.
Five reasons to update your Will
- Marriage, separation and divorce – It is very important to remember that marriage completely revokes your Will, while divorce revokes only those clauses relating to your spouse. So, if you are about to marry or enter into a civil partnership, you should make a new Will. If you have separated from your spouse, consider updating your Will because if you die before your divorce is finalised, any existing clauses benefiting your spouse will remain valid;
- Births and deaths – You naturally want to protect your children as far as possible including providing for them after your death. You may have named children as beneficiaries in your current Will, however this will not automatically include further children. You should therefore update your Will where necessary. You may also want to consider appointing a suitable legal guardian for your children in case you die before they reach 18;
- Tax mitigation – Inheritance tax advice can be provided to ensure you receive all the relevant information before deciding what type of Will suits your circumstances and wishes
- Financial windfalls – If you receive a large inheritance, redundancy payout, or you are lucky enough to win the lottery, you should consider updating your Will. We could discuss with you whether making cash gifts to your loved ones or to your favourite charities to reduce the size of your estate is a good option for you or not.
- Health problem – Our health can deteriorate at any point in our lives. If you become terminally ill or you are seriously injured in an accident and you know your prognosis is poor, making or reviewing your Will can give you peace of mind. The specialist Wills lawyers at Warners are experienced in providing compassionate advice and support in difficult circumstances. You may also want information regarding Lasting Powers of Attorney, which we can provide.
What will it cost me?
Changing your Will depends on the changes required. If only minor alterations are needed a codicil may suffice at a lower cost. A codicil is a short supplemental document modifying particular clauses of your existing Will and both documents will be kept together.
We will advise you if a new Will is needed. How much this will cost depends on how complex the Will needs to be and an indication of the cost will be provided during the initial meeting.
What you should do now
Always see a specialist solicitor when thinking of making or changing your Will. Will writers are unregulated and may not have specialist expertise. The risk is having a Will that is ineffective, or even invalid.
For further information, please contact Aneesha Dhami in the Wills, trusts and estate planning team on 01732 770660 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Warners Solicitors has offices in Tonbridge and Sevenoaks, Kent.
This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.