The first and most important step is to have a Will – so if you do, that’s great.
But how long ago did you do it? What’s changed since? Would your Will still work as you intended it to all those years ago?
Here we’ll discuss why reviewing your Will at least every three to four years is so necessary, but also which scenarios should prompt this. Let’s take a look…
Why review your Will?
For many of us, actually getting a Will set up is a job that always seems to slip to the back of the line. Let’s be honest, it isn’t the most joyful thing to think about. But it is important – potentially one of the most important documents we’ll ever create. Once we’ve finally got one, we tend to overlook the fact that things change and it may need reviewing over time.
So what should we be looking out for?…
- Change of financial situation
- Change of assets
- Updates in the law (e.g. that could relate to tax)
Did you know that a marriage will revoke a previous Will? This means that if you marry after making a Will, that Will becomes invalid. It’s important to update your Will after a marriage, otherwise you’ll die intestate (without a Will) and your estate will be passed in accordance with the Rules of Intestacy. Which may result in your estate passing differently to how you wish.
Your Will may be written in contemplation of marriage, but it’s still sensible to have this reviewed. How long ago was the marriage? How long was the gap between the Will and the actual marriage? These things can play a factor in the effectiveness of a Will.
What actually happens when you divorce? Typically, the ex-spouse is treated as if they’ve died. Are you happy with who would inherit instead?
That said, in some cases it is still possible the ex-spouse may inherit. Is this what you want?
To make your wishes clear, you’ll need to update your Will so that there are no blurred lines as to what your intentions are.
Have you had additional children since writing your Will? Does your Will cater for them? Make sure no one is left out!
Change of Financial Situation
Changes in your financial situation can affect whether your Will is still as effective. Perhaps you’ve inherited and your estate value has increased significantly? You might want to rethink how things are distributed.
Or perhaps your estate value has decreased since the time of writing your Will? If so, and you have monetary gifts to individuals in your Will, do these gift amounts still ensure your other beneficiaries receive what you wanted to give them?
Change of Assets
Have you acquired additional assets which should be dealt with separately to ensure maximum tax efficiency? For example, Business Relievable assets, or Agricultural assets?
Perhaps you’ve moved house since writing your Will – but how do you own the property? Does this compliment how your Will is drafted? Owning a property as Tenants in Common or Joint Tenants can have a significant impact on what actually happens to your house when you die v. what you want to happen to it.
Maybe you have foreign assets – is this reflected in your Will? Do you have a separate Will in that country or, indeed, should you have one?
What about specific gifts – do you still have these items? Let’s think about a piano. You have a piano that you wish to pass to Mr Bloggs when you die. Accordingly, your Will states ‘my black piano’ is to go to Mr Bloggs. But what if you swap your black piano for a brown one – should he still receive it? How your gifts are drafted into your Will can impact this either way – would you rather review your Will and know, or leave it to chance on death?
Updates in the Law (e.g. re Tax Relief)
Is your Will written to take advantage of as much tax relief as possible? If it’s been a while since you last did your Will, it’s likely the law has changed. In 2017, for example, there was a significant increase in the Inheritance Tax allowances. Does your Will reflect this? Updating it could be the key factor in saving on inheritance tax (and savings can be substantial).
BOOK YOUR WILL REVIEW TODAY
- In-depth review by STEP-qualifed estate planners
- Expert advice across the board
- Simple to do (send us a photo of your Will via our secure portal)
- Achieve peace of mind you’ve got everything covered
Contact us on email@example.com or on 0117 302 1888