When did you last update your Will?

When did you last update your Will?

 

Earlier this year the Independent reported that nearly two thirds of UK Adults do not have a will, but of those that have a Will many of them may have been made years ago and risk being out of date.

 

Having an out of date Will is just a risky as not having a Will at all. The out of date Will may contain beneficiaries that are no longer alive, or you beneficiaries that you no longer wish to inherit your estate, assets that you no longer own or may not effectively utilise the new Inheritance Tax Allowances.

 

Some sources suggest that you should review your Will every five years, but a timescale for review is hard to justify. A lot can happen in a person’s life in five years. The best advice is that your Will should be under constant review and should always be considered if there are major changes in your life. We have compiled a list of the most common changes to your circumstances that should prompt you to review and potentially change your Will:

Getting Married

 

Many people are not aware that when you get married any existing Will you have in place will be automatically revoked. This means should you fail to make a new Will after marrying when you die your estate will be divided and distributed in accordance with the rules of intestacy.

 

Getting divorced or separating from your partner

If you already have a Will in place it may name your spouse or partner, either as an executor, beneficiary or maybe both. You may no longer wish for them to deal or benefit from your estate when you die, it is therefore important to review and change your Will at this time.

In addition, if you are getting divorced, when the Decree Absolute is granted any references to your ex-spouse in your Will will be interpreted as if they are deceased and therefore they will not benefit from any gifts you may have left to them. If you still want to them act as your executor or benefit from your estate it is important you update your Will after received your Decree Absolute.

 

Moving House

If you move house it is important to update your Will to reflect your new address. But moving house may come with other life changes, you may be buying your first home or downsizing and releasing equity which will change your financial position and assets that you own. It may even change your tax position. It is important you receive the best and appropriate advice in this situation to ensure you are effectively planning for the future.

 

Having a child

The birth of a child in the family is an exciting time, whether it if your child, a grandchildren or a close family member. It is an important time to review your Will and consider who you would like to be the guardians of any children and if you would like to leave a legacy for them when you are no longer here. Unless the Will states otherwise a beneficiary will receive the gift when they are 18 years old, but you may not wish for your children to receive anything until they are 21 or 25. With the right advice and appropriate planning this can be achieved in your Will.

 

If your executor can no longer act

Should your named executor pass away or lose capacity you may wish to update your Will to appoint someone new so the choice of who acts as your executor remains yours.

 

Changes in the Law

It can be difficult to keep abreast with every change to be law, however major changes are often detailed within the press. If you have concerns that changes to the law will affect your estate it is important to seek expert advice and review your Will.

The recent changes to Inheritance Tax and the introduction of the Residence Nil Rate Band (RNRB) should trigger a review of your Will. Many people with Wills written before April 2017 may exclude your estate from benefitiing from the RNRB. To claim the RNRB the property must be passing to lieal decendents, and therefore certain types of Trusts within Wills can prevent your estate claiming the RNRB.

 

Receiving Assets ot Inheritance

You may receive assets by way of inheritance, compensation for an accident or win the lottery, either way if your financial situation changes it’s important you review your Will. Not only may you wish for these assets to pass to certain people but you may need to consider careful inheritance tax planning to maximise what passes to your beneficiaries.

No matter what the reason for reviewing your Will it is important that you receive expert advice in relation to this. Call us today on 01522 282 500 to book your free no obligation appointment.