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WHEN SHOULD YOU REVIEW YOUR WILL?

 

A Will is written at a given point in time, and will usually accurately reflect your wishes/circumstances at that snapshot in time. However if your circumstances change substantially your Will may no longer reflect your current circumstances / wishes.  In the following circumstances it may be appropriate to contact us for advice on the impact these changes may have on your Will:

  • Marriage– invalidates a Will unless the Will was written in anticipation of marriage to a named person within a defined timescale (typically within 12 months of writing the Will).
  • Divorce– invalidates any gifts made to your former spouse, meaning no provision is made for them whatsoever. In contrast, if you have made a gift to relatives in your Will and they divorce you should check whether your Will confers any gift on a now former “in law”.
  • Birth of additional children– if you have more children than when you originally drafted your Will it may make no provision for the child and your assets may be divided amongst other beneficiaries. This situation can also affect grandchildren. Likewise if a child has reached 18 you may wish to amend the terms of your Will.
  • Death of a beneficiary – it will be necessary to consider how your assets should be re-distributed, particularly if you have made a gift of specific items to a deceased beneficiary.
  • Substantial changes in your assets — may mean it is necessary to revisit your Will and reconsider how your assets would be redistributed. Your Will may not include any wishes in respect of newly acquired property, or may distribute property that you are no longer in possession of.
  • Going into care — can result in care home fees being payable and a substantial reduction in the size of your estate. It may be appropriate to make specific monetary gifts in your Will where you wish to ensure a beneficiary receives a set amount. 
  • Legislative / tax changes - can have a substantial impact on the tax efficiency of your Will e.g. in 2007 it became possible to transfer a spouses’ nil rate band from one spouse to the other on death. We would recommend that every 3-5 years the terms of your Will are reviewed to reflect the current legal and tax environment.

The list above is a selection of circumstances where it is advisable to review your Will. However this list is not exhaustive, and if your circumstances change significantly it is advised you check with us whether this likely to have any impact on your Will. We offer free advice for as long as clients’ current Wills were drawn up by ourselves. If we are storing Wills for clients then any amendments needed can be carried out for no additional charge.