When should you update your Will?

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Your Will is an essential part of planning for your financial and personal affairs. It guides how your assets will be distributed and how your loved ones will be provided for after you’re gone. However, Wills are not set in stone; as they need to evolve to reflect changes in your life, legal regulations, and tax laws. It is recommended to review your Will every 3-5 years or if certain life triggers occur.

Harriet Pearce Trainee Solicitor in the Private Client department explains the importance of keeping your will up to date.

When Should You Make a New Will?

Life Events: Marriage, Divorce, or Civil Partnership – Marriage, civil partnership, or divorce can significantly impact your Will. After getting married or entering a civil partnership, your existing Will is automatically revoked and is no longer valid unless the Will was made in contemplation of the marriage/civil partnership. You may want to update your Will to include your new spouse or partner. In contrast, a divorce does not revoke your Will, and will remain valid. However, for inheritance purposes, your ex-partner will be treated as if they had died when your marriage/civil partnership was dissolved.

Birth or Adoption of Children or Grandchildren- The arrival of new family members may require revising your Will to include them. You may want to name guardians for minor children, set up trusts for their financial security, and ensure their needs are met in the event of your death. If you re-marry and have stepchildren, a Will leaving everything ‘to my children’ will not include them and you will need to update your Will to make provisions for them.

Death of Beneficiaries or Executors – The death of your beneficiaries or executors can cause disruption in your Will. To prevent complications and unintended consequences, it is recommended to update your Will to name new beneficiaries or executors.

Change in Financial Status – Changes in your financial situation, such as inheriting assets, selling properties, or starting a new business, may require a re-evaluation of your Will to ensure it accurately reflects your current wealth.

Relocation to a Different Country – If you move to or from the UK, your Will may need to be reviewed to comply with the legal requirements and tax implications of your new jurisdiction.

Why Do You Need to Update Your Will?

Inheritance Tax Law Changes – Tax laws are constantly evolving, and these changes can significantly affect your Will. Although your position may not have changed, your current Will could be out of date, overcomplicated or unfit for purpose with the current tax laws. Keeping abreast of tax law amendments in the UK is essential to take advantage of tax-efficient strategies and reduce your estate’s tax liability.

Ensure Beneficiaries Are Still Suitable – Beneficiaries you named in the past may no longer be suitable due to changing circumstances. Review your beneficiaries to ensure your estate benefits those you intend to provide for.

Giving to Charity – If you are passionate about donating to charity, you may want to include or expand provisions for your favourite charities in your Will. Leaving money to charities can also have inheritance tax benefits as any charitable gift is free of inheritance tax which can reduce the amount of inheritance tax the rest of your estate will pay.

Regularly reviewing and updating your Will is crucial to ensure that it aligns with your current situation and UK law. By staying proactive in updating your Will, you can safeguard your loved ones’ future and minimize potential legal and financial complications. It can be difficult to know where to start, but with the help of our experienced Private Client Team, you can ensure your estate is looked after according to your wishes.

For expert advice, please contact your local WSP branch in Gloucester or Stroud today or call us on 01453 847200.


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    harriet pearce wsp solicitors wills and probate paralegal