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How often should you update your Will?

Your Will should be kept under regular review so that it reflects your financial and personal circumstances. We suggest contacting a specialist Wills & Probate Solicitor to review your Will around every 5 – 7 years, or earlier if your circumstances change.

You should revisit your Will after any significant life events, such as a marriage/civil partnership, a birth, a death, a divorce or a relationship breakdown, to ensure you have included the people that you would like to inherit from your estate:

Marriage

Many people are not aware that marriage/civil partnership revokes (ie cancels) a Will that was made prior to the marriage/civil partnership taking place. The previous Will would be revoked unless it included specific wording at the time it was prepared, stating that it would not be revoked by marriage/civil partnership to a particular person.

At the time of preparing your Will, it is important that you discuss with your Solicitor if you plan to marry or enter a civil partnership with a particular person in the near future. We can then prepare the Will so that it remains valid when the marriage/civil partnership does take place.

If you do not update your Will following a marriage/civil partnership and your Will does not contain specific wording as described above, then the Will will be revoked/cancelled and no longer valid. Instead, your estate would be distributed as though you had no Will in place, in accordance with the rules of Intestacy. This could result in your estate not passing to the people to whom you intended it to go.

Birth

When a new baby arrives, you may wish to include them in your Will and therefore amend your Will at this time. You can include not only current children but future children also, who may be alive at the date of your death.

Death

Upon the death of anyone who is a beneficiary in your Will, it is important that you find out whether your Will has substitute provisions for that person’s share of your estate. You will need to review your Will to find out to whom your estate would go instead. You can amend your Will to include anyone else who you would like to inherit a share of your estate.  

Divorce

After divorce or civil partnership dissolution, your Will remains valid. However, your ex spouse would be treated as though they had passed away before you and therefore your estate would not go to them. However, if you still wanted your ex spouse to inherit from your estate, then you would need to make this clear in your Will and update your Will.

Relationship breakdown

If you suffer a relationship breakdown with a beneficiary, then you may wish to remove that person from your Will. It is always possible to remove a beneficiary, as it is your choice to whom your estate passes. However, you will need to be aware of the possibility of claims being made against your estate following your death.

Finances

If your finances have altered since your Will was made, then you should review your Will. You may have provided specific gifts in your Will that you no longer own. Alternatively, you may have provided cash amounts to beneficiaries but you no longer have the funds to pay them. Alternatively, your estate may have increased in value and you require advice and planning. In these circumstances, you should review your Will to find out whether you need to update it.

Our specialist Wills & Probate solicitors are here to help. If you’d like to make a new Will or update an existing one, please contact our team by calling 0113 201 4900 or emailing wills.probate@emsleys.co.uk.

Helena Clayton

Written by

Helena Clayton

Wills & Probate

Helena is Solicitor in our Wills & Probate team. She has over five years’ experience working as a legal assistant in various departments including Wills & Probate. Helena is an active member of Emsleys’ Charity Committee and regularly volunteers in Business in the Community projects. She graduated from Newcastle...

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