Regularly updating your will is crucial for safeguarding your assets and avoiding potential family conflicts.
Creating a will is an incredibly important thing to do, but somehow it ends up at the bottom of a lot of people’s to-do lists. What’s more, after finally creating and filing this important document, a number of individuals often deem it a completed task and overlook the crucial need for regular updates, unaware of its true importance.
In the long term, this neglect can lead to complications in administering an estate, meaning that disagreements and strained relationships could emerge among your loved ones. Moreover, this article outlines five reasons to highlight the importance of regularly updating your will.
1. Matrimonial Changes
Marriage and divorce are major life changes, and they can also impact significantly our finances. When you tie the knot, it’s crucial to consider updating your will to include your partner. However, it becomes even more important to remove them if you go through a divorce. Failing to update your will and exclude your ex-spouse could potentially result in them inheriting your assets, even if you’ve had no contact for years. Stay on top of your will to ensure your wishes are accurately reflected.
2. Parenthood Changes
When a new child joins your family, it’s only natural to want to include them in your will, ensuring they can inherit from your estate. While your biological children typically have a claim to inheritance even without a will, it’s important to note that grandchildren won’t automatically receive the same benefit. If you have a legally adopted child, they are afforded the same rights as any biological child, even if you die intestate.
In some cases, you might find it necessary to update your will and intentionally exclude a specific child, especially if there’s been a significant rift or estrangement. However, it’s important to note that even if you exclude a child from your will, they could potentially make a claim on your estate.
3. Relationship Changes
Throughout our lives, we form and end relationships, forging new connections along the way. It’s completely natural to consider including friends, acquaintances, and even charities in your will. However, it’s crucial to consistently review and update the contents of your will to ensure that your sentiments and desires remain unchanged over time. Keeping your will up to date will reflect your current wishes and ensure your legacy reflects the people and causes you truly care about.
4. Change of Circumstances
Our lives, including our financial situations, often go through ups and downs, and it’s important to adjust our wills accordingly when experiencing changes in personal circumstances. Here are a few instances where updating your will becomes necessary:
- Financial shifts: Whether it’s a significant improvement or downturn in your finances, such as a major lottery win or financial setback, it’s crucial to update your will to reflect these changes. For instance, newfound wealth might inspire you to be more generous with your inheritance plans.
- Social care considerations: If a loved one or child develops a condition or illness that requires substantial care, revising your will can ensure that funds are appropriately allocated to support their needs.
- Loss of assets: It’s possible that after creating your will, you might lose access to certain assets like a house, car, or investment portfolio. In such cases, it’s vital to update your will to avoid any confusion regarding the distribution of your remaining assets.
5. Pension Changes
If you have a pension, including one from your current or previous employment, and this changes or is consolidated with other pensions, it becomes essential to update your will accordingly. This ensures that your will, will accurately reflect the changes in your pension, be it from your current job or previous employment.
Stay proactive and make the necessary updates to ensure your will remains aligned with your evolving financial circumstances.
Review and Update
In the modern world, our lives rarely stand still for long and, as our circumstances change, people tend to come and go. Because of this, it’s vital that you regularly review and update your will to ensure that the contents are still relevant. Failing to do this can mean that your will does not accurately reflect your wishes once you die and this can result in a lot of stress and legal wrangling at a time when your loved ones are grieving.
While there may be a charge for updating your will with your solicitor this will almost always be cheaper than not doing so in the long run.
Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained legal professional. Be sure to consult a wills and probate solicitor if you’re seeking advice on updating your will. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.