Mar 08, 2023
3 mins read
Creating a will is something many people do when they get to a certain age or specific milestones in their life, such as having children. What people often do after this point is completely forget about their will and leave it as it is until they pass away. This can cause issues as things change during the course of your life, and when things change, you may need to update your will. In this article, we look at several situations where you may need to update your will.
You’ve moved address
Moving home is very common; many people choose to downsize into a more manageable property as they get older. If you do move, you need to make sure you update your will to reflect your new address and details of the property that’s being left as part of that will. When moving, there are lots of things you need to change; make sure that you include your will as part of this list.
If you have any additional children since your will was first written, it's important that you update it to reflect who you want your estate to be divided between. If your will lists your children, you will need to add additional children to the will after they’re born. You may also consider your stepchildren as your children and want to ensure that they are included in your will; this will not be an automatic assumption, so you must name them specifically in your will. The same principle applies if you want to remove any of your children or stepchildren from the will. To prevent them from benefiting, you will need to update your will to remove their names.
If you were single when you first created your will and you’ve since shared a happy relationship with a partner that you want to benefit from your will when you pass away, you should update your will. Your money will not automatically pass to your partner unless you are married. If you want them to benefit, you must update your will to include their name and the details of how much of the estate you want them to inherit.
If your executors change
When you create your will, you will identify who you want to administer your estate; this person is called an executor. Your executors need to be of a sound mind and have enough capacity to be able to administer your estate. They will also be in charge of protecting your property, gaining probate insurance and making sure your will is executed fairly. Choosing wisely is essential; if any previous executors named have illnesses or conditions that impact their mental or physical capacity, they may no longer be the best choice. If any of the executors pass away or your relationship with them changes, you should update your will to reflect this change.
Divorce or separation
If you are no longer married or with the partner you identified in your will, it's essential that you update your will to reflect the changes in your circumstances. The named partner may still be entitled to inherit some or all of your estate if you don’t update your will when your relationship changes. This could prevent your children or a new partner from getting any inheritance when you pass away. Divorce and separation can be devastating, but it's critical that you make the change to your will as soon as possible, just in case the unexpected happens.
Any major changes in your life require a modification to ensure your will is up to date. A good step is to review your will once a year to ensure you are still happy that all the details are correct. When updating your will, you need to go through the professional that prepared it for you initially; they will ensure the will is updated correctly and the previous version can’t be used. If you decide to create a new will completely, you should destroy all copies and the original version of the previous will. This will minimise the likelihood of any challenges against your new will; old wills can cause confusion and potential issues when distributing your estate.