Did you know the UK Government recommends you review your Will every five years or after a major life change? If you haven’t checked yours since it was written then the start of a new year is a good time to do so. So what should you be reviewing within your Will.
Provisions for Children or Grandchildren
If you have children under the age of 18 then your Will sets out the provisions for their guardianship in the event of anything happening to you. It may be the case the people you named as guardians have moved or had a change of circumstances which means they could no longer carry out this role. In this case it is imperative you make new guardianship arrangements for your children. Your children may now be older, so you may wish to change how you have provided for them since originally putting it in place. Or, perhaps you have now become a grandparent and you would now like to make provision for these grandchildren.
Changes to Executors
The executor is the person or organisation you appoint to carry out your final wishes after you have passed away. It is therefore prudent to reassess who you have chosen each time you review your Will. They will be older so it is worth considering if they are still of sound mind. They may have passed away themselves and so you need to appoint a new one. Your circumstances could have changed and you would like to choose someone different for personal reasons. Choose carefully as this person will be responsible for managing all of your estate on your behalf.
Reviewing beneficiaries and charities
Your Will may make provision for different beneficiaries and charities. Beneficiaries will receive benefits from your estate and if you have had a change of heart or your business circumstances have changed then your Will should be amended in line with this. You could have separated or divorced which again would perhaps change the named beneficiaries. Over time, people’s opinions and priorities change and as a result you could amend which charity or indeed charities will benefit from your estate.
How your Will is updated
Once your Will has been signed and witnessed then it cannot be altered in anyway. If you do wish to change it then a Codicil can be added to the original Will. This is an official alteration to your Will and is signed and witnessed. There are no limits to the number of Codicils which can be added to a Will however, if there are major changes to be made then a new Will would be advised. A new Will revokes any previous Wills which pre-date it. Your old Will should be destroyed once the new one is in place.
If you do not have a Will, please take some time to read our previous blog outlining what you need to think about when writing your Will. Whether you are writing your first Will or reviewing an existing Will, Flackwoods offer a complete will writing service, giving you professional qualified legal advice as part of this service. As a new client, please contact us for 30 minutes free advice regarding your Will.