In this blog we answer your questions on whether you need a new Will. People tend to assume that a Will is good for the rest of their life or that their Will needs updating every year or so. The answer to whether your Will needs changing often lies in whether changes have occurred in your personal or financial circumstances or whether the personal or financial circumstances of your family and your planned beneficiaries have changed.
Online Cheshire Will solicitors
If you need advice about making a Will or changing your current Will then the Wills and estate planning team at Evolve Family Law can help you. Call us on 0345 222 8 222 for a no obligation cat to see if you need a new Will or complete our online enquiry form and we can set up a telephone appointment, video conference, or Skype call.
Do I need a new Will?
The answer to whether you need a new Will is ‘maybe and lets have a proper chat about it’. That is because so much depends upon your individual personal and financial circumstances. It may be that nothing significant has changed for you or any of your beneficiaries. In that case your Will may be OK. However, it is still good to check as if your Will was prepared some years ago, or drafted by a non-specialist solicitor, it may not be as tax efficient as it could be.
There are also many occasions where a Will maker decides that they would like to make some bequests or additional specific bequests to family members or friends (such as the gift of a fob watch to a grandson or an eternity ring to a daughter or to a close friend).
If you want to make a single specific bequest (or add a single additional bequest to the ones already contained in your Will) then it may be possible to do this by getting your Wills and estate planning solicitor to prepare a codicil for you (a supplemental document to your existing Will). In other scenarios, it is easier and potentially less confusing for a new Will to be drawn up. For example, if beneficiaries in your existing Will have moved house or changed their surname because of marriage or divorce and so your original Will could benefit from a bit of tidying up.
In many circumstances, people don’t realise that their Will is no longer fit for purpose and needs a complete overhaul and a rewrite. That is because changes in personal or financial circumstances may not seem legally significant to you but they can be.
When do I need a new Will?
You need to take legal advice from a Cheshire Wills and estate planning solicitor if any of the following applies to you:
- Your original executors of your Will have passed away and there is no substitution of executor clause in your Will
- You have got married or remarried
- You have separated from your wife, husband, civil partner or partner
- You have formed a new relationship – you still need estate planning advice whether or not you want to leave a share of your estate to your new partner. If you don’t review your estate planning and take appropriate action then you may increase the prospects of a claim being made against your estate to challenge your Will. The risks of this can be minimised if you make a new Will
- You have new step children or step grandchildren and they aren’t already included in your Will as a class of beneficiaries
- Covering unforeseen events if your original Will doesn’t set out what will happen if one of your beneficiaries dies before you or specifically names your children or grandchildren but you now have had additional births within the family
- Age of inheritance – you may want to change the age that your beneficiaries can inherit. For example, increase the age from eighteen to twenty five or increase the powers of your trustees so that they can advance monies to any young beneficiaries to help with education fees or other specified expenses
- Your beneficiary’s personal or financial circumstances have changed.
There are lots of other reasons why your Will may need to be reviewed. It is best to take legal advice every couple of years to double check that your Will still meets your needs and protects your family and loved ones.
Why should I change my Will if my beneficiary’s circumstances change?
It may appear to you that the change in your beneficiary’s personal or financial circumstances isn’t relevant to your Will or estate planning but it is best to review your Will if your beneficiary:
- Gets married – especially if they don’t sign a prenuptial agreement prior to their marriage .You may want to place their inheritance in trust to protect the family money
- Separates or divorces from their husband, wife or civil partner. That is because if you leave a legacy to a beneficiary who is going through a separation or divorce , and you pass away, their spouse or civil partner may try to make a claim on the money. This can be avoided by making a new Will or placing the legacy in a trust that can form part of your new Will
- Passes away without your current Will saying who you would like to receive their legacy instead of them. For example, you may want their legacy to be shared between their children
- Is made bankrupt or is at risk of bankruptcy. If a beneficiary inherits money whilst bankrupt the money will go to their trustee in bankruptcy
- Has mental health issues or special needs as you may not have realised at the time that you made your Will that your beneficiary had these difficulties. For example, if you made your Will many years ago prior to the birth of your children or grandchildren and simply left your estate ‘to your children’. One of your beneficiaries may need the protection of a trust that can be created in your new Will
- Your beneficiary isn’t financially prudent so you may prefer to delay the date that they can receive your legacy or place it into trust.
Updating your Will is one of those chores that we can put off but it is best not to. If you are uncertain about whether your Will needs reviewing and updating then it is best to take legal advice from a Wills and estate planning solicitor.
Online Cheshire Will and estate planning solicitors
For advice on changing your Will or estate planning call the efficient and friendly team Will and estate planning solicitors at Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 for a no obligation chat about whether you need a new Will or complete our online enquiry form and we will arrange a telephone appointment , video conferencing or Skype call to discuss how we can help you.