Reviewing your Will at least once every three to four years is important to ensure that it remains valid and up to date. In addition, changes in your personal life, financial position or even in the law can often mean that changing your Will is necessary in order to guarantee that it best reflects your wishes.
There are several lifetime events that trigger the need for a change in your Will. Some key ones to consider are:
The Birth of Children or Grandchildren
It is necessary to make a provision for your child/children explicitly in your Will to ensure that they inherit as you would wish them to. Furthermore, for those with children under the age of 18; the appoint of a guardian through your Will is your chance to ensure that it is people of your choosing who are responsible for the welfare of your children should you pass away.
If you would like to make gifts to your grandchildren, it is also beneficial to have these stipulated in your Will.
Marriage or Divorce
Any Will you made before marriage is automatically revoked once you are married. This means it is no longer valid and the effect is as though you had not made a Will at all. It is therefore important to review and renew your Will after marriage.
Whilst divorce does not invalidate your Will as it does with marriage, any provisions which mention your ex-spouse are revoked. Therefore, if you appointed an ex-spouse as an executor or trustee in your Will, they will no longer be able to act and these clauses will fail.
Changes in your financial position
A change in your financial position can also be a trigger for needing to change your Will. Any significant change in your finances could have an impact on the legacies or gifts you have left in your Will, and potentially on your Inheritance Tax position. It is important to reflect on these changes and consider whether there is enough in your estate to ensure that any of your gifts do not fail.
Someone named in your Will passes away
If you have appointed someone as an executor who has now passed away or left them a gift, it will be necessary to make changes. You will need to review who to appoint as an executor and the gift will have to be directed to another beneficiary.
An invalid Will creates an intestacy situation whereby your estate is distributed in accordance with the Family (Inheritance and Provisions) Act 1925. This Act states who will inherit from your Estate if you have an invalid Will and this may not be in accordance with your wishes. It is therefore essential to remember to review your Will to ensure that your estate and assets pass as you would like them to!