It is easy to think that once you have written a Will, you never have to go back to it, just keep it safe and everything will be settled when you die. This can, however, be a huge mistake as there are many things which if incorrect have the potential to invalidate a Will. By no means is this a full and comprehensive list of occasions that a Will should be updated, but here are a few, ranging from significant developments to easily overlooked changes.
It is possible to write a marriage into a Will before it has happened, using an additional clause featuring the name of the soon-to-be spouse. If this has not been done, however, the ceremony will revoke any previous Will, so after tying the knot is a time that your plans will need to be reviewed.
- Births or Adoptions
Whether it is your own new arrivals or grandchildren, updating your Will should be considered when there are any additions to the family. An essential thought is to put guardians in place for any children under the age of 18, as this is not an easy decision to be made, and certainly not one to be left to the courts.
In case of the event of being pre-deceased by anybody involved in your Will, it is advisable to have contingency plans for executors, guardians and beneficiaries. This stands as well, for any executors or guardians who may decide they are no longer able to be part of the process.
Divorce does not invalidate a Will as when the decree absolute is received the money originally left to your spouse should go back into the remainder of the estate, so any beneficiaries set to receive the residue would simply be receiving more money. There are problems, however, when everything was to be left to the spouse. Either way, following a divorce, a Will certainly should be reviewed.
- Address changes
Whether it’s you, your beneficiaries or your executor moving house, it is essential to update your Will with any new addresses.
- Selling or buying assets
As any accommodation owned is likely to be the largest asset on a Will, any newly purchased or sold property must be detailed in the document. Inheritance of anybody else’s property is another important circumstance which needs to be factored in. In Estate Planning, any smaller belongings such as vehicles or valuable jewellery are known as chattels, and these too should always be considered. These are the types of items which can be sold or bought without much thought, but your Will should be amended when this happens.
- Becoming involved with charities
Come retirement and working less, many of us decide to give our time to charities, or perhaps they influence our lives in other ways, so we may like to give back to them after we have gone. It is possible to leave money to charities, so if you were to get involved with an organisation they can be written into your Will.
- Deciding that you no longer wish for one of your beneficiaries to inherit
In day to day life, we can’t always get on with everybody, and as sad as it is, we do fall out with others. If you decide you want to take a beneficiary out of your Will, this can be done with a simple update. As long as this is done correctly and it is clear to whom the money is now due, these changes will be accepted.
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