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Read more articles in: Blog, Family Law, Rachel Blackburn

Introducing new family members into your Will

When you welcome a new family member – whether through birth, adoption, or marriage – it’s a uniquely special moment.

However, it’s important to remember that your Will is not automatically updated to include them.

So, it might be time to revisit your estate planning and make sure your Will reflects this new addition to the family.

Effectively, the primary purpose of amending your Will to include new children or grandchildren is to prevent potential oversights that could lead to disinheritance.

An up-to-date Will clarifies your intentions, offering peace of mind to you and your family by ensuring that your assets are allocated as you deem fit.

This proactive step is crucial in safeguarding the financial future of your newest family members, ensuring that they are duly recognised and provided for in your estate planning.

Choosing guardians for minor children

An essential aspect of updating your Will upon the arrival of a child or grandchild is the designation of guardianship.

Choosing a guardian involves selecting a trusted individual to assume legal responsibility for your minor children’s care and well-being in the event of your incapacity or death.

This decision requires careful consideration, focusing on individuals who share your values, have a strong rapport with the child, and are capable of providing a stable and nurturing environment.

Legal consent from the chosen guardian is required to validate this arrangement, highlighting the importance of open communication and mutual agreement on guardianship responsibilities.

Establishing trusts for children and grandchildren

Setting up trusts gives you a smart and clear way to handle your assets and lets you tailor plans that meet your family’s unique needs and financial goals.

Whether you’re looking to fund education costs, help with everyday expenses, or set aside money that your kids or grandkids can access when they hit milestones (like turning eighteen or twenty-one), trusts are incredibly flexible tools.

There are a wide range of trust options to pick from.

Discretionary trusts let the trustees decide the best way to distribute assets, thinking about what the beneficiaries need at the current moment.

Bare trusts, on the other hand, give beneficiaries straight-up access to both the money and any income it makes, no strings attached. This kind of flexibility is useful for adapting to the twists and turns in a beneficiary’s life.

Also, there are specific trusts designed with special needs in mind, making sure beneficiaries with disabilities get the support they need without limiting their rights to any public benefits.

Life interest trusts are there to look after a surviving partner’s needs, while making sure the main assets go to your children or whoever you’ve chosen down the line.

Having all these trust options means you can really focus on the details of how your assets are used once you’re gone, making sure everything lines up with what you want for your family’s future.

By picking and fine-tuning the right types of trusts, you’re laying down a legacy that not only supports your loved ones but also sets them up for a bright, secure future.

How to update your Will

Updating your Will is a multi-step process that necessitates a thorough review of your current documents, followed by a professional consultation with a solicitor.

This ensures that your Will not only accommodates the inclusion of new family members but also adheres to the latest legal standards.

  • Review your current Will: Examine your existing document to identify any needed changes, including new family members or adjustments in beneficiaries, executors, or guardians.
  • List changes: Make a detailed list of updates, such as adding or removing beneficiaries, altering the executor, or adjusting asset distribution.
  • Consult a solicitor: Seek advice from a solicitor specialising in Wills to ensure your changes comply with current laws and to navigate any complex issues like tax implications.
  • Draft and review: Have your solicitor draft a new Will or a codicil reflecting your changes. Review it carefully to ensure it matches your intentions.
  • Sign with witnesses: Officially sign the updated document in the presence of two independent witnesses who should also sign.
  • Store safely: Keep the updated Will in a secure location and inform your executor or a trusted individual of its whereabouts.
  • Regular review: Periodically re-evaluate your Will, especially after significant life events, to ensure it remains accurate and relevant.

Our experts are specialists in writing, amending, and updating Wills and we regularly perform this service to clients who have had additions to their family.

If you are worried that your Will no longer reflects the changing nature of your family, or you’d like to make changes to it, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our team.

Email enquiries@manderhadley.co.uk or call 024 7663 1212

Mander Hadley

Mander Hadley Solicitors is not only a long established firm, but is vibrant and successful, with a forward thinking approach.