When you had your Last Will and Testament drawn up you were obviously concerned that everyone should know how you would like your estate dealt with when you die and that all your affairs would be in order to make things easier on your family. At the time you were probably satisfied that your Will reflected your wishes and that all your affairs would be taken care of appropriately. However, as time passed your situation may have changed and it may well be that your circumstances are different now. Your financial situation may have changed, relationships may have altered, or other new developments may have occurred which will necessitate a review of your Will.
If any of the following situations have occurred since you last drew up your Will, you will probably need to have it reviewed:
- You have married
- You have separated from your partner or got divorced
- You are widowed
- Family or personal relationships have changed
- Beneficiaries or Executors to the Will have moved away or died
- You had a child or additional children
- Young children you may have had are now grown up
- Adult children you may have had are now married
- You now have grandchildren
- You have acquired additional property, for example, a holiday home
- You have acquired property abroad
- You have drawn up a Will in another country to protect your assets abroad
- You have received a legacy that substantially increases the value of your estate
- Your property or other assets have increased in value
- You have started a new business or sold a business you may have had
- You have sold your property in order to move into residential care
These are just a few examples of the many changes that may have taken place during the time you made your Will and now. There may have been many other changes in your personal circumstances which necessitates a revision of your Will.
What do Do if you think your Will may need to be Updated
The first thing we need to do is review your Will to ascertain whether the changes in your circumstances mean that you will have to change certain details in your Will or draw up a new one.
Our professional services include a free initial consultation to review your existing Will and discuss your new circumstances. If we find that your Will needs revision we will make an appointment for you with one of our specialists to assess what changes are needed to update your Will. Once we have ascertained exactly what changes are required we will give you an estimate of the costs and arrange for your Will to be updated.
How do I Change my Will?
There two ways that are commonly used to amend a Will:
1. The use of a codicil – a legal document that states variations to your original Will.
A Codicil must be witnessed and signed in the same way as your Will. The Codicil will form part of the Will and must be stored together with the original Will.
This option is not always appropriate in all circumstances and if it is not suitable for you, our specialist will discuss other options with you before proceeding.
You may need to take into consideration the fact that, because a Codicil will be stored together with your original Will, both will be revealed at the same time which may be something you do not want.
2. Drawing up an entirely New Will
If your circumstances have changed substantially it may be necessary to draw up a new Will. In our information guide called “Making a Will” you will find details of the standard services we offer. We also offer additional services such as the use of Trusts, Estate Planning, how to reduce Inheritance Tax, and how to deal with claims against your estate. During your appointment, the specialist assigned to you will gladly discuss any additional services you require and the costs involved.
Do I need to make a New Will if the Addresses of the Beneficiaries in my Will have changed?
If these are the only changes that you need to make it won’t be necessary to change your Will or make a new Will. Simple amendments, such as changes of addresses of any parties mentioned in the Will, can be done by sending us a letter confirming the changes in writing. The letter needs to be signed and dated by you and will be stored together with your Will. There will be no charge for this service.
It’s important to plan ahead, and be prepared for the worst whenever it may come – and that’s why it’s so important that you find somewhere which offers affordable probate services so that everything is in order.