Updating your Will
Writing a Will is one of the most important things you can do, and many people assume that once they’ve made a Will it remains unchanged throughout their lifetime. However, there are several circumstances under which it’s advisable to update your Will. After all, it’s a document that’s designed to take care of your loved ones after your death.
Before writing a Will, you should speak to an estate planning expert such as Nick Hughes to determine how you want your wealth to be distributed. Kent tax advisors can offer advice on how best to manage your estate and minimise your Inheritance Tax liability.
The Importance of Reviewing or Updating Your Will
Personal situations can change quickly and dramatically. What you wrote in your Will ten years ago might not reflect who you are or how you’re living now. Maybe you’ve become estranged from family members or left a long-term partner. Whatever the case, reviewing the contents of your Will regularly can be extremely beneficial. Of course, if you have Wills in place and your situation hasn’t changed, then reviewing this document annually won’t be of much use. But if your life has taken many twists and turns, then you need to make sure your wishes are noted in writing so that your estate is handled correctly when you pass away.
Reasons for Updating a Will
There are many reasons why you might want to update a Will. For example:
- If you get divorced
Divorce is common these days. But how will it affect your Will and what updates should you make? Well, when a marriage comes to an end, your ex-spouse will not benefit and their share of your estate will be passed onto the next beneficiary who is entitled to it, in line with the terms of the Will. If no other beneficiaries have been named, then your estate would be dealt with as if you’d died without a valid Will and the rules of intestacy will be applied. These don’t recognise step children or cohabiting partners and instead prioritise direct family members. So always update your Will after a divorce to ensure the loved ones in your life will be adequately protected should you pass away.
- If you get married
Many people don’t realise that a Will made before marriage becomes invalid, unless it is written in contemplation of the marriage. So, if you made your Will as a single person and have since tied the knot, it’s vital that you update your Will to reflect your current circumstances. It’s also worth noting that if you and your partner aren’t married, your partner won’t have a right to inherit if you don’t have a Will. Updating this document is therefore crucial. The same applies to a civil partnership.
- If you have more children
The birth of a child is an excellent reason to update your Will. After all, you’ll want to protect this latest addition to your family and ensure your assets are divided fairly between siblings. You should also update your Will if a child sadly passes away or if your named beneficiaries are deceased. There may be other people in your life that could become beneficiaries instead.
- If an appointed guardian dies
If you have children under 18, it’s a good idea to appoint a guardian or guardians. These should be carefully selected individuals who will take care of your little ones until they reach adulthood. If the guardian/s named in your Will die, then it’s crucial to update this legal document to safeguard the future of your children. Make sure the guardians know they’ve been chosen and seek their approval before adding them to your Will.