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Should you update your Will?

If you already have a Will, you may not realise that there are instances where it’s important to review your Will and make updates accordingly. It is recommended to review your Will every 5 years and after any major changes in your life. Below, we have listed 8 examples of when you should update your Will.

  1. Getting separated or divorced.

  2. Getting Married (this cancels any Will you made before.)

  3. A new child or grandchild.

  4. Moving House.

  5. If the executor named in the Will dies.

  6. If you sell anything that is left as a specific gift in your Will.

  7. Passing specific items to loved ones.

  8. If you move to live outside the UK (you are likely to need a totally new Will in your new country of residence.)

Making any Changes to your Will

You cannot amend your Will after it’s been signed and witnessed. The only way you can change a Will is by making an official alteration called a codicil. A codicil must be signed and witnessed in the same manner of witnessing a Will. Additionally, there is no limit on how many codicils you can add to a will.

For any major changes, we advise that you make a new will. Your new will should explain that it revokes (officially cancels) all previous wills and codicils. If you decide to make a new will, you should destroy your old will by burning it or tearing it up.

  1. Getting Divorced/Dissolution of Civil Partnerships Following the issuing of the decree absolute, your former spouse will be treated as if they have passed for purposes of the will. Due to this, any instruction in the Will pertaining to them will be disregarded. If your former spouse is the sole beneficiary in your Will, your estate will be dealt with according to the Rules of Intestacy. So, to ensure your assets are distributed according to your intentions, it is always advisable to draft a new Will upon divorce or dissolution. It is worth noting that should you and your spouse only separate and do not divorce/dissolve your Civil Partnership, your spouse may still be entitled to their prior rights claim against your estate.

  2. Getting Married Firstly, if this applies to you - congratulations from all of us at Thomas Bradley & Co! However, you will need to review your Will, as getting married cancels any will you have made before. If you get married, there are rights of succession that apply even when neither of you has made a will. By reviewing, you can decide what to leave your partner.

  3. Having a Child or Grandchild If you have children, or grandchildren it is important to consider them. This ensures that they are included in your will, and details if you would like to leave them any gifts. If you are considering disinheriting your child due to family circumstances, it is worth noting that in Scotland you are unable to disinherit your children through your Will as this can be contested by your children in order for your estate to fulfil their legal rights claim.

  4. Moving House Your will should be reviewed if you move home to ensure it considers the new property, and to also ensure that it is not affected by the disposal of the old property. This is particularly true when considering the way in which you own a property with someone else.

  5. If the Executor named in the Will Dies If your Executor passed before you do, then any joint or replacement Executor under the terms of your will, will be responsible for administering the estate. If there is no joint or replacement Executor in your Will, then it is advised to prepare a new Will and appoint a new Executor. If you fail to do so, it will then be up to your loved ones to apply to the court to become an Executor Dative.

  6. If you sell anything that is left as a specific gift in your Will A specific gift is a particular item or amount of money that you leave to a beneficiary in your will. For example, leaving a ring to your daughter. However, if you decide to sell the gift - it’s best to remove the gift from your will as soon as you can.

  7. Passing Specific Items to Loved Ones If you have inherited a family heirloom or have purchased something with sentimental value that you would like to pass down to a specific family member, then you should always make a provision for this in your Will to ensure that your Executors are aware how you would like your personal items to be distributed as well as the other areas of your Estate.

  8. If you move to live outside the UK (you are likely to need a totally new Will in your new country of residence) Each country has different laws of succession and as such, should you move to another country or have assets within another country, you may require a Will which is in accordance with their laws to ensure that your estate is accurately distributed within that country’s laws.

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