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Posted on 25 February 2021

When should you consider updating your will?

Posted in Advice

Very simply, it is important to review your will when there are changes within relationships or to financial circumstances.  The key times to consider updating your will are: 

Relationship changes: 

Breakdown of a marriage or civil partnership.

If your current will includes your partner or spouse as an executor, replacement executor or beneficiary in your will, you may want to consider updating your will while finalising your divorce or separation. Unless you update your will, the terms in your will remain effective until you are granted your decree absolute. Therefore, if you appointed your spouse/civil partner as an executor and/or gifted them anything in your will, this would still apply if you were to die before the divorce is finalised. We appreciate that going through a divorce or separation is often stressful and you may not want to prioritise a will, however there are risks if you delay.

Expecting a baby

When you are expecting a baby it is important to consider if your current will has been written in a way that includes your future child or not. There are key areas in a will that can specifically affect your child/children (see https://www.winstonsolicitors.co.uk/blog/expecting-baby-why-you-need-co…) and we recommend that you ensure to review your current will to see if it needs updating.

Expecting a future grandchild

Similarly to if you were expecting a child of your own, if you are about to become a grandparent (either for the first time or to another grandchild) then it would be beneficial for you to review your will. If your current will refers to your grandchildren by their name then it is highly likely that it will not include the new-born grandchild.

Growing apart or disagreements

Often in life we may find ourselves simply growing apart from close friends or relatives or having disagreements which we never expected. If this has occurred you may wish to reconsider who you have named in your will to see if you would like to reduce their role (either as an executor or guardian) or reduce what they will benefit from your will.

Death of a loved one

Losing a loved one is extremely difficult and considering your will at that time may simply be something you do not want to do. As time passes, you may want to consider reviewing your will to ensure that your will includes what you would want to happen if that particular loved one predeceased you.

Financial changes:

Your financial situation

If since making your current will you have gained, lost or simply spent a fair amount of money it is advisable to review your will. You may want to consider increasing or decreasing gift amounts or indeed adding or removing beneficiaries.

Buying or selling a property

For the majority, a property is the largest asset we will own. If your current will makes reference to a specific, either by gifting it or including it in a trust then that clause may be invalid if you have sold the property. If you have bought a property it is also important that your current will reflects your wishes regarding the property. Therefore, it is important to review your will to ensure it still meets your needs.

Your beneficiary’s financial situation

If one of your beneficiaries has recently come into a large sum of money or seems to be more financially stable since you wrote your current will, you may wish to re-consider their inheritance from your estate. 

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