Our Lifetime Planning and Wills team are available on 01225 755656, or by email. Alternatively, you can complete the Contact Form at the foot of this page.
We are often asked by clients how often they should review their Will. While we always try to draft Wills that are as ‘future-proof’ as possible, we generally suggest at least reading through your Will every five years or so. Hopefully, nothing will need to be changed and it can be put back in the drawer for another five years. However, there are some significant life events that should trigger a more detailed review of your Will.
Do you have a new family member?
Do you have a new child or grandchild? Depending on the wording of your Will they may, or may not, be automatically included as a beneficiary.
Parents can also appoint Guardians for their children in a Will to ensure they are cared for in the event the parents die while they are minors. It is far easier and less expensive to appoint them in your Will than to leave it to the Court should you die.
Have you lost somebody?
If a beneficiary has died before you it is essential to review your Will to decide whether you need to state who should now receive the inheritance. Equally, if one of your executors has died, you may need to appoint someone else to act in their place.
Wills and Marriage/Divorce
Marriage automatically revokes a Will, unless that Will was made in contemplation of marriage. If you do not make a new Will when you marry, you risk dying intestate and your wishes not being enacted.
When going through a divorce, Wills are often forgotten. A divorce does not revoke a Will, but a former spouse is automatically written out. Your Will should still be reviewed to ensure the substitutional provisions accurately reflect your wishes. Further, divorce proceedings can take months or even years to conclude. Whilst you are still married, albeit separated, your spouse will still benefit from your estate if you die before the divorce is finalised. We would therefore strongly recommend changing your Will as soon as possible.
Have you moved house?
When you buy a new house it is important to review your Will. There are various options available to you when considering how to jointly own a property, and provision can be made in a Will with a view to reducing exposure to care home fees and Inheritance Tax.
Have your financial circumstances changed?
As the value of your estate changes, you should review your Will and seek advice on Inheritance Tax planning. This is particularly important if you have received a large inheritance that is not necessarily needed – perhaps you would prefer to pass it immediately to your children. This can benefit them immediately, as well as your own estate in due course with a saving of Inheritance Tax.