How often should you update your will?

Does your will as it currently stands still accurately reflect your wishes? A lot of people tend to write a will and then forget about it, even if significant events have actually rendered aspects of it invalid or no longer appropriate. An inaccurate or out of date will can cause a great deal of worry and stress for your loved ones following your death. It can also result in them being unable to cope financially.

Even if your life hasn’t obviously changed in any significant way, we recommend you review your will at least every three to four years, just to make sure it still reflects your desires. You should also check to see if there have been any changes to UK legislation that might affect you. In recent years, changes to inheritance tax legislation have meant that many people have had to make changes to their wills, even though their own wishes remained the same.

There are also various specific events that you should take as a sign to pursue professional advice and review your will. These include:

* Marriage. If you’re in England or Wales and you get married, your marriage will automatically revoke any existing will, unless that will was drawn up with that marriage in mind.

* Childbirth. You will probably wish to alter your will to include the arrival of new children or grandchildren.

* Divorce. When your divorce is finalised, your ex-spouse will be regarded — at least as far as your will is concerned — as having predeceased you. Therefore you need to then look at any substitute provisions that are in place, and decide whether those provisions still reflect your wishes.

* Death. If a beneficiary in your will predeceases you, you need to then make sure you understand what will happen to their gift, and decide what you want to happen, in light of their passing.

* Executor problems. It’s very important that your executor is willing and able to administer your estate for you, and to control any trust that your will brings into being. If they die or become unsuitable and are not replaced in good time, this could be catastrophic as far as the enactment of your final wishes is concerned.

When should you use a codicil to update your will?

A codicil is a supplement or amendment that is added to a will, rather than creating an entirely new document. When they are used, they tend to be used for minor amendments and even though they’re cheaper than creating a new will, they tend not to be used very commonly these days.

They were more popular before the advent of the personal computing and word processing. Nowadays, because it’s much easier than it used to be and because it’s much tidier to have a single unified document, most people tend to make up a whole new will rather than bothering with codicils.

If you need any more advice on either creating your will from scratch or on making alterations to an existing will, give us a call at Murria Solicitors today free on 0333 800 0033.