Updating your Will
Making a Will is an important step in managing your affairs and ensures that only the people you choose benefit from your estate. It’s not an enjoyable process, but it’s necessary if you want to protect your assets. Unfortunately, once your Will is made, it’s not simply a case of sitting back and never looking at it again. Revisions are highly advisable whenever there’s a significant change in your circumstances. Let’s look at some examples of when you should update your Will.
Many people aren’t aware of this, but in England and Wales, if you have made a Will and then get married, the marriage will revoke and invalidate your Will. As such, you will need to make a new one to ensure your estate goes to your chosen beneficiaries.
If you have new children or grandchildren after writing your Will, they do not automatically become beneficiaries, even if your other children are included. It’s a good idea to ensure your wishes are carried out by naming any new child or grandchild in a revised Will.
If you don’t update your Will following a divorce, your estate could be treated as if you don’t have a Will at all. This means the ‘rules of intestacy’ apply – and these may not reflect your wishes. Making a new Will after a divorce ensures your estate is divided in the way you choose, ensuring your new partner or any new children are provided for.
Death of a beneficiary
It’s a sad fact that sometimes a named beneficiary passes away before you do. In such circumstances, their intended inheritance will fall back into your estate to be redistributed among surviving beneficiaries. Sometimes if the intended beneficiary passes and has children of their own, their portion of the estate will pass directly to their children. If, however, this is not your wish and you would prefer the share to go elsewhere, you will need to ensure your Will is updated.
Death of unsuitability of an executor
The executor of your Will is the person who administers your estate upon your passing. They ensure that your wishes are carried out in line with your Will, so it’s important to choose someone who is responsible and trustworthy. If for some reason your chosen executor becomes unsuitable for the task – due to health issues, for example – or passes away before you do, you’ll need to update your Will to nominate a new one. If you don’t, it may be that the beneficiary receiving the largest part of your estate will have the right to apply for a Grant of Probate and distribute the estate as per the Will.
As you can see, there are several significant events that should prompt you to update your Will. Of course, you can always seek assistance from a Kent accountant for probate services if you have any questions – and if you need to make a Will or amend your existing one, estate planning can be carried out by Kent tax advisors.