We all let our wills slip our minds during busy times. But our lives change constantly, so it’s important to keep your will up to date with the ebbs and flows of reality.
Are you wondering if you should update your will, or unsure of the procedures for will updating? Here’s everything you need to know:
When Should Your Will Be Updated?
Everyone knows that it’s important to actually have a will. However, the importance of your will being up to date is often forgotten about.
The government recommends that you review your will every five years, no matter what. This is even if you feel like no major changes have occurred in your life.
If any major changes have happened, you should update your will accordingly as soon as possible.
So, What is Classed as a Major Change?
Examples of major changes in your life can be, but are not limited to:
- If you have children – writing a will may seem like a daunting task after you have children. As childcare is so time-consuming you may find it difficult to plan ahead. But, it is important to look after your children in the present, while also considering their future and ensuring they have security in place. Your children are now additional beneficiaries to your will, and it is also recommended that you appoint a guardian for them in the event of your death.
- If you get married – legally, if you get married any previous will you have made will be canceled. Thus, it’s important to update/create a new will that outlines the wishes you and your partner now have for each other, whatever they may be.
- Getting a divorce or going through a separation – after you undergo divorce or separation, your will is still valid. However, it will legally treat your ex-partner as if they have died, to put it bluntly, which can lead to unwanted inconsistencies. So, if you wish to alter the amount they are entitled to because there are children involved for example, then you will need to update your will.
- Changes to housing/properties – if you move homes you need to make sure your will accounts for your new property and not your old one. Or, you may have purchased additional properties, in the form of holiday homes for example, and therefore need to divide them up as assets and assign them to the beneficiaries you want them to go to.
- If an executor named in the will dies – an executor named in the will is an individual responsible for carrying out your estate wishes. If they die and you do not update your will after this, then it can lead to complications over who must take on the role. Legally, a residuary beneficiary takes on the role, but there could be more than one individual eligible. To save your family having to decide amongst themselves you should update your will and also include a secondary executor for safe measure.
What is the Process of Updating Your Will?
You cannot amend your pre-existing will document once it has been signed and witnessed.
However, you can make official alterations, which are called codicils. There’s no limit as to how many codicils you can add to a will, but they must be signed and witnessed just like your will.
For big changes, like the ones mentioned above, it is recommended that you rewrite your will completely, as codicils are only really meant for minor scenarios as they can get lost or having too many can cause confusion. Just remember that any revised will you write must have a section which revokes previous wills and codicils.
And of course, to prevent people from finding the wrong will you must tear up or burn any old ones you have.
It is also recommended to seek professional legal help and use a will writing service. By working with an expert in this field, you can gain invaluable peace of mind that your last wishes will be carried out to the letter.
Head of Wills, Probate and Trusts at Winn Solicitors, Rebecca Harbron Gray, explains the importance of using an effective will writing service, saying:
“Many people avoid writing a will and making plans for death for many years because they think it is a morbid or depressing process. But the truth is often that, once complete, people get a sense of comfort and relief from knowing that they have done all they can to protect and care for their nearest and dearest.
At Winn Solicitors our team has decades of experience in this specialist field of law and we know how to make it simple and stress-free – no matter how complex your estate or family situation.”
With a dedicated team of legal specialists in settling affairs, Winn Solicitors can help you create or update a will that offers complete peace of mind and security for your family, no matter what the future holds.
If you’re looking for an expert writing service, get in touch with Winn Solicitors today.