Is your Will up-to-date?
Mar 5, 2021
It’s useful to think of your Will as a reflection of your situation and your wishes at a particular time.
When a client comes to us to talk about making a Will, they tell us about their family set-up, their assets, their intentions when it comes to passing on the things they own. These are all things that can (and often do) change as years go by. New children arrive. People separate. Money and properties come and go. Beneficiaries fall in and out of favour. Life isn’t static.
It’s important that your Will keeps up with changes in your life. We have had to advise families who have been stumped by a loved one’s Will that leaves money to a former partner, or where provision had not been made for later additions to the family. Equally, problems have been caused where the executors named in the Will had died before the deceased or had, for some other reason, become ill-equipped to carry out that role.
But the rule that too few people are aware of is the one that says that marriage automatically cancels any existing Will, unless you have made provision for marriage in your Will. Getting married after having made a Will means some of your best-laid plans will fall away, and you will need to make a post-marriage Will that reflects your new situation. If you don’t, the law will treat you as never having made a Will at all, and the rules of intestacy will apply. Under these rules, certain people will benefit from your estate in a set order. You won’t have had any say in that, and it’s perfectly possible that you wouldn’t have wanted your assets to be passed on in the way they eventually are.
So our advice is to keep your Will under review. If a big event happens in your life – birth, death, marriage, divorce, a house move, a big lottery win - remember to ask your solicitor to look over your Will with you. In any event, it’s sensible to diarise every few years to revisit your Will to check that it’s still relevant and that it reflects your up-to-date situation, as well as providing for the most tax-efficient way of passing on the things you own.
To speak to us about making a Will, or updating a Will you’ve already made. Please contact our Private Client department on 01264 353411 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our team will be on hand to guide you through the process.
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