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How often should I update my will?

How often should I update my will?


Expert view

Many people make their will and forget about it. It’s probably stuffed in a drawer somewhere gathering dust. Your wishes will probably change over time, therefore it’s important that your will always reflects your current circumstances.

As a result, it’s a good idea to review your will every 5 years. This will make sure that it’s up to date and accurately reflects what you want to happen when you die. But there are certain times in your life when you should think about reviewing your will. These are:

  • Marriage – as soon as you get married your will is revoked. To avoid this, you can make your will in anticipation of getting marrying.
  • Divorce – getting divorced will stop your ex-spouse from inheriting anything from your estate but it’s important to make sure that your will has substitute provisions in place and that these accurately reflect what you want. If your separation and divorce is a lengthy one, you may want to change your will before you divorce because you probably won’t want to leave your estate to your soon to be ex.
  • Children or Grandchildren - You should update your will on the birth of children to make sure they inherit. You should also name legal guardians of your children in your will. This will make sure that you can suggest the best people to look after your children if you die before they reach 18. Once you have grandchildren, if you want to leave specific gifts to them you will need to update your will again.
  • Financial changes - If you receive a large amount of money because of an inheritance for instance, make sure this sum is reflected in your will. This may mean there are inheritance tax implications for you which you can get advice from an experienced lawyer. You can structure your will to make it as tax efficient as possible, but if your estate decreases in value, you should reassess your will to make sure that you are only giving away what is available.
  • Change of executor - Your executor is responsible for gathering your assets and distributing your estate. If the executor named in your will dies or can no longer take on the responsibility, you should update your will with an alternative executor.
  • Death of a beneficiary – if there is someone who is due to inherit from your will and they die, you should update your will. This is because the gift you were due to give them will need to be given to someone else.

There are two ways to update your will. You can make a codicil, which would be read alongside your will or you can make a whole new will. Making a new will is the better option. This is because it is simpler and offers better clarity to your executors when they administer your estate.

If you would like to update your will or even make your first will, call our experienced team on 0117 926 4121 or make a Free Online Enquiry.