So, when should you update your will? Generally speaking, you should consider updating your will whenever your circumstances change.
Here we highlight the 7 important situations that signal it is time to update your will.
- Buying or selling property – The average homeowner has over £214,000 worth of property - and estates valued at £325,000 or less can be passed on free of inheritance tax, so if you buy or sell a property you should also update your will. You may also need to consolidate property owned between couples, consider capital gains tax, and potentially bringing the gift into account against future inheritance.
- Acquiring assets – You may have inherited assets yourself since your initial will was prepared. These acquired assets would form part of your estate and you may wish to leave these as specific gifts in your will, so you need to update in accordance with any changes as you acquire assets.
- Change in family circumstances – Your children may no longer be dependent on you. You may still want to ensure that a particular item or financial provision is left for your adult children in your will, or you may now want to reassign your estate to grandchildren, or charities instead. So if you have a change in family circumstances, ensure your will is updated accordingly.
- Change in financial circumstances – The value of your estate is likely to have changed over the years and it may be more appropriate in the circumstances to appoint a professional executor instead of a lay executor to administer your estate.
- Death of executor/beneficiary – You should consider updating your will when a named executor or beneficiary has passed away.
- Divorce – Your will doesn't become void upon divorce, but your will is treated as if your ex-spouse has died before you for the purposes of them being named as a beneficiary, trustee or executor. So whilst your will remains valid following a divorce, it is likely that the majority of clauses contained within your will won’t be effective.
- Marriage or remarriage – Getting married or remarried after making a will automatically revokes your will which could, for example, leave your children from your previous relationship financially unprotected in the event of your death.
Have a question about your will or circumstances? Why not speak to estate law experts Slater and Gordon? As the UK's leading consumer law firm, and our trusted legal partner, they are committed to delivering exceptional and affordable legal services. Get in touch today.