When should I update my Will?

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For most of us, a Will is not a one-off. Changes in circumstances will often necessitate new arrangements for what happens to your estate once you die.

Thanks to the pandemic, there has been a surge of interest in Will-writing and amendments to existing documents to ensure they accurately reflect what you want to happen.

Here is our guide to when you should update your Will…

You’ve had your first child

A key event in anyone’s life obviously, but many people forget or don’t think they’re ‘old’ enough. What if, God forbid, you and your partner were killed or died before your child had reached his/her majority? The Will should name who you want as your child’s legal guardian and who will act as the trustee for that child’s inheritance. Ensure the Will is flexible enough to include the birth of other children.

You’re about to divorce your husband/wife.

If you have no Will and die before the proceedings are complete, then your spouse has marital rights to some of your estate…we’ll let that sit with you.

You have divorced your husband/wife

If you’ve changed your name post-divorce, your Will should reflect this. It should also be updated so that it is clear who your new beneficiaries are.

Your child marries

Have a sneaky suspicion your kid’s about to commit to a wrong ‘un? In that case, it might be worth considering a Will where there’s a trust set up for your child keeping money safely out of the hands of a potential ex-son or daughter-in-law.

Your executor or beneficiaries die

The normal course of things is for beneficiaries or executors to outlive their benefactor—and that’s what we sincerely hope for you. But if the worst happens, you may need to update your Will if any contingency plans for that eventuality no longer suit.

You’re older

… and wiser, so too might be other potential executors. Your child, say, who is now of an age mature enough to handle the responsibility of executor duties.

The rules around inheritance tax have changed

Inheritance tax laws have changed in recent years. Does your current Will reflect those changes and if not, make sure it is amended. You may need to consult a tax lawyer to work out what will be of maximum benefit to your beneficiaries.

The lottery has come through for you

Or you’ve had another windfall and find yourself much better off. Given the perilous state of our economy at present, you may want to think about making financial gifts to your beneficiaries ahead of your death. Or what about donations to charities because boy, are they going to need it…

You’ve lost your original Will

If you can’t find your old Will and your solicitor doesn’t have a copy, then obviously another one must be drafted that makes it clear that it invalidates all previous Wills. Don’t forget that Finders International offers a service where we search for old Wills. And, for peace of mind, we offer insurance via Aviva against a missing Will turning up after the estate has been distributed.

 

With thanks to Kiplinger.com for help with this article. Please note—Finders International does not offer legal or financial advice. Please consult with a professional.