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Read more articles in: Blog, News, Rachel Blackburn

Why should I update my will?

Following on from our latest podcast with Head of Wills, Probate and Older Client Services, Rachel Blackburn, our team are taking a look at the importance of keeping your Will updated and when it’s time to review your wishes.

Writing your Will and keeping it updated is the most effective way to ensure that your wishes are carried out after your death, particularly important if you have a complex estate or family arrangement.

Our experts recommend that you review your Will every year – a lot can happen in a short period of time – but there are also a number of scenarios when you should take particular care over ensuring your Will is accurate and valid.

Revisiting an existing Will

Rachel said: “Milestones and other life events often mean that you need to update your Will since you have more people or a more complex family situation to contend with.”

These are some of the most common and can result in serious oversight if not considered properly:

  • Marriage requires you to create a new Will or resign an existing one, since tying the knot invalidates the previous Will.
  • Divorce might prompt you to change beneficiaries to exclude your former spouse or, conversely, ensure they can inherit despite no longer being your spouse.
  • Acquiring new assets means updating your Will to include these, especially if you plan to leave them to beneficiaries outside of your immediate family.
  • The arrival of children or grandchildren requires careful consideration of how to apportion your estate among them, especially if you have several.
  • Relocating? Ensure your new home’s inclusion in your Will isn’t affected by the sale of the previous one and goes to the person you’ve chosen.
  • Should a beneficiary pass away before you, you’ll need to decide who inherits their intended share.
  • If you own a business, include it in your Will to ensure it passes on according to your exit strategy.

What happens if I don’t update my Will?

In Rachel’s words: “Ultimately, you’re taking a gamble with your assets and your family dynamics.

“Having an outdated Will can cause disputes within a family and result in certain family members going without provisions which they were promised or that they need.”

Disagreements over a Will can additionally prolong the estate administration, causing further grief and turmoil.

An old Will might also distribute your assets contrary to your wishes, miss out new beneficiaries or include unintended ones.

Updating your Will

To reflect changes or new assets, you can either:

  • Use a codicil for minor adjustments, following the same formalities as drafting a new Will.
  • Create a new Will for more substantial changes, explicitly revoking all prior Wills.

Rachel points out that: “Whichever method you choose, seeking professional advice is crucial to ensure your Will is comprehensive and legally sound.”

How can we help?

We commit to upholding the highest professional standards and offer dedicated support to clients seeking to update their Will.

Our senior team members, including those affiliated with the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), and Rachel Blackburn, our Head of Wills, Probate and Older Client Services and a member of the Association of Lifetime Lawyers, exemplify our commitment to providing expert, sensitive advice on estate planning and Wills.

We customise our services to meet your unique needs, ensuring your Will is precise, valid, and truly reflects your intentions.

For assistance with updating your Will, please contact our Wills team today.

Rachel Blackburn

Head of Wills, Probate and Older Client Services

I joined Mander Hadley’s Wills, Probate and Older Client Services Team in 2018.I specialise in the preparation of Wills, Probate and estate administration, trusts and trust administration and Lasting Powers of Attorney. I also have experience of care fee planning and appeals of Continuing Health Care decisions.