Is it time to update my Will?
Research by Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) has indicated that almost half of those in the UK with a Will have not updated it in more than 5 years. It is essential to keep your Will up-to-date to ensure it still reflects your wishes. This is why SFE are running “Update your Will Week” again this year from 23rd to 29th January 2023 to encourage people to update their Wills more regularly.
When should I update my Will?
As a general rule of thumb, you should aim to update your Will every 5 years. However, certain life events should prompt you to review your Will sooner:
- Marriage – this will revoke an existing Will. Updating your Will ensures your new spouse is provided for.
- Divorce – your ex-spouse will be defined as having predeceased you in your Will. Amending your Will allows you to make substitute provisions regarding your estate and make provisions for guardians for minor children etc.
- Family additions – if you have children or grandchildren, updating your Will allows you to make provisions for them.
- Death of a beneficiary – if a beneficiary dies, the gift to them may fail unless a substitute provision is already made. If not, it is important to update your Will to indicate who you would like to inherit following their death.
- Death/changes in circumstances of an executor – if an executor dies, their appointment will fail. If they were appointed as a sole executor, this can create significant problems on your death. Amending your Will allows you to appoint replacements. Similarly, if a current executor cannot act for other reasons, it is paramount to ensure they are removed and replaced.
- Changes to your financial situation – this may affect how you leave your estate. If for example, you have received an inheritance from someone else you may now benefit from inheritance tax advice.
If the changes you wish to make are slight, then an entirely new Will may not even be needed and instead, a Codicil may be sufficient.
Sophie Fenn, Senior Associate at The Wilkes Partnership is an SFE accredited solicitor and can assist with updating your Will. For more information please contact her at [email protected] or 0121 733 8000.