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Six life events that should prompt you to update your Will


Donna Matthews from our private client team explains the importance of not forgetting to keep a Will up to date and outlines six scenarios where you may want to consider updating your Will.

A Will is a legal document prepared during your lifetime which sets out what is to happen after your death. It confirms who will manage your affairs and who will receive your assets after your death.

Keeping your Will up to date

Preparing a Will is one of the most important things you can do, and it’s just as important to ensure that your Will is kept under review and updated when necessary.

Once a Will has been drafted, it is very easy to file it away in a safe place and forget about it. However, you must ensure that it is kept up to date so that it reflects your current wishes, and your estate passes to the people you wish to inherit.

We recommend reviewing your Will every three to four years, or sooner if any of the following events occur:

  1. Marriage/Civil partnership – if you get married or enter into a civil partnership, this will automatically revoke your Will. You will therefore need to make a new Will to reflect your current wishes.
  2. Separation – if you separate from a partner you may wish to update your Will so that your former partner no longer benefits from your estate.
  3. Divorce – if you get divorced, the Will remains valid, but your ex-spouse will no longer be able to benefit from it. It is therefore a good idea to update your Will at this point.
  4. Change in financial circumstances or changes in the law – if the value of your assets increase or decrease, or if the law has changed, you should consider reviewing your Will.
  5. New additions to the family – if you have a new family member (for example, a new grandchild, niece or nephew) you may wish to update your Will.
  6. Death of a beneficiary or executor – you may wish to update your Will if a beneficiary or executor dies.

What happens if your Will is out-of-date?

There have been many situations where the deceased had not updated their Will. This meant that the Will did not reflect the deceased’s wishes and estranged members of the deceased’s family or former friends inherited their estate when in fact they had not spoken to or seen them for many years.

Therefore, it is important to take the time to ensure your Will reflects your current wishes, or if you have not made a Will, consider doing so to ensure your estate passes to who you want it to.

If you die without a valid Will in place, then your estate is governed by the Intestacy Rules and these rules state how your estate must be distributed on death. The Intestacy Rules may not suit your circumstances and reflect your wishes. Having a Will in place ensures that your estate passes the way you intend and gives you certainty and control.

If you would like to make a Will or review your Will, please contact Harrison Drury on 01772 258321.

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