Making a Will is one of the most important steps we can take in our life to manage our affairs. This is because our Willd are an invaluable tool, helping our family and loved ones have a less stressful time after we have died. Once a Will is made it is keep it under lock and key and often only sees the light of day after we have died. Is it enought to make a Will put it into safe keeping and never look at it again?
From the day we make our Will to the day we die, we experience many changes in our lives. These changes can alter our priorities in life including how we want to pass our wealth and possessions to our family. It therefore makes sense that we review our Wills regularly to make sure it reflects our changing circumstances and wishes. Let us look at some of the life events which should prompt us re-examine our Will.
1. New Additions to the Family – It is important that you review your will when your grown. This is especially so for new parents who will need to appoint guardians for their children. The best place to do so in in your Will. Grandparents on the other hand may consider setting up trusts for their grandchildren or leaving them a gift in their Will
2. Divorce – It comes as a surprise to many people that a divorce does not revoke your Will entirely. Any gift you leave to your ex-wife/husband or ex-civil partner will fail as they are regarded as having died on the date the divorce was finalised. Equally, if you appointed them as your executor in your Will, they will not be able to act in this capacity. You need to appoint new executors and look at how else you want to distribute your estate. The other side of the coin on this point is that for many, however, traumatic the divorce might have been, the remarry. combined families with children on both sides from previous relationships really does mean that you have to think hard about how your estates will be divided up on death. It is important to get the right advice.
3. Relocation – Countries have their own specific rules on how your estate passes down to your family. Therefore if you have moved from another part of the world, or even from Ireland or Scotland, to live in England you need to review your Will. Your Irish, Scottish or foreign Will may not necessarily be valid in the UK.
4. Increased wealth – You may come into money through various means, such as winning the national lottery or being left a large sum of money by family or friends. This will increase your personal estate and affect the amount of inheritance tax you will have to pay. You can mitigate this tax taking a fresh look at your Will and planning your estate.
5. Changes in the law – The law is never constant. Each new change to the law may have implications for the amount of tax payable on your estate. Therefore regular Will reviews are essential to make sure that your Will is up to date and makes the best use of your estate for the benefit of your family.
There are many more reasons why your should review your Will frequently. If your circumstances have changed and you need to review your Will, please contact me Sangeeta Moore at The Law House Solicitors on 020 8899 6620 or 07825 838 922. (I make home visits at no extra cost!)