Top 5 Life Changes That Mean You Should Update Your Will
Ensuring that you have a valid and comprehensive will in place in order to protect your loved ones’ interests in the future requires more than a single session with your solicitor.
In reality – and unless every element of your life remains the same over the years – creating a will is a long-term process that must be revisited regularly, in order to ensure that this vital document reflects your wishes, and the state of your finances and other assets.
Still, many people mistakenly believe that, after having made their wills, they needn’t spare another thought for them. For that reason, we have put together a list of some of the most common reasons why individuals need to revise or rewrite their wills.
In the UK, marriage automatically nullifies any wills that were created beforehand – however recently they were written.
When no valid will is in place, your assets are distributed according to the laws of intestacy – a fact which, in this instance, means that your spouse would likely inherit everything from you.
If, however, you had other wishes, obligations, or have made other promises separate from your marriage, then the only way to ensure that these can be legally upheld in the event of your death is to update your will and stipulate your wishes.
If, after marrying, you named your ex-spouse within an updated version of your will, then updating your will is incredibly important. While your ex-husband or -wife will not be able to benefit from any assets allocated to them within the outdated will, their ability to inherit will be replaced by the rules of intestacy.
Thus, if you named your ex-spouse the sole beneficiary of your will, for instance (as many people do), then, following divorce, your assets will be treated as though no will exists at all. This should, of course, be avoided at all times.
Buying a Home
Your will should account for every one of your assets, whether large or small. For the overwhelming majority of us, our homes will come to represent the most significant assets we have, and any new homeowner should make updating their will yet another priority that comes from purchasing property.
While, prior to children, you may have taken a more general approach to creating a will, and may well have named your partner your sole beneficiary, the importance of ensuring that they will be provided for even in the event of your death cannot be overstated. Updating your will in order to account for your children as beneficiaries is a vital step any new parent must take, both in terms of practicality, and in terms of ensuring that they do not feel overlooked in this vital document.
Similarly, if you marry a partner who already has children and do not go through a legal adoption process, then they will not stand to automatically inherit under the laws of intestacy. For this reason, naming step-children alongside biological children is incredibly important.
If someone you have named as a beneficiary or executor within your own will passes away, then you will need to revise the existing document to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.
What’s more, following a bereavement, you may have received your own inheritance from that particular loved one. Of course, any significant change to your finances should be accounted for in an updated version of your will – and that includes a significant inheritance of money, property, or other assets.