Updating or changing your Will

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When your circumstances change, updating your Will or making a new Will is a smart move.

A client of us recently bought a property and after the closing date, she immediately asked us to help her draw up a new Will because she now owns a house, along with some cash and other worldly possessions. Despite she’s young and healthy, she doesn’t want any unexpected circumstances to ‘deny her wishes’ as she puts it when it comes to how her assets should be distributed following her death.

So in this article, our Wills and Probate Solicitors look at some commonly asked questions pertaining to changing one’s Will.

Why do you need to change your Will?

Some common reasons include but not limited to:

  • When you are married because a marriage automatically revokes the Will you have made previously according to the law in England and Wales
  • When you get divorced because your ex-spouse will not benefit from it unless you have explicitly stated so
  • When you have a new child or a new grandchild
  • When your assets change
  • When you can no longer trust your executor
  • When your executor dies
  • When one of your beneficiaries dies

What happens to my old Will when I make a new one?

Your new Will should state clearly that it revokes all previous Wills and codicils. You should destroy your old Will by shredding or burning it.

What’s involved in changing a Will?

You have two options – rewrite a new Will or add a codicil to the existing Will.

A codicil is a document that allows you to make minor amendments to part of a Will. You can create multiple codicils – provided that they are signed, witnessed and all kept together with your original Will. If they are lost, then the terms in your original Will will be carried out instead.

It must be noted that the witness to your codicil cannot be someone who will (or their spouse will) benefit from a gift in the codicil. Doing so will make the gift to them in the codicil invalid.

If you are making significant changes to an existing Will or if you do not want to keep multiple documents, creating a new Will is your best option.

What changes should I make to my new Will?

This depends on the change in your circumstances. If you are re-married recently, your new spouse will be the main beneficiary of your estate. This means your children from your previous marriage could be left with significantly less or nothing at all if you do not include them in your Will.

Who should I notify when I change my Will?

You should only tell your executor where your Will is kept so they can find it when the time comes. You do not, however, need to disclose any content of your new Will to anyone.

Romain Coleman provides Will services

Since 1964, we have been providing outstanding legal advice and assistance to our clients when it comes to Wills and Probate, Landlord and Property disputes, Personal Injury and Elderly Care.

We are professional, efficient and trusted by our clients. Our advice is always honest and our service does not include any hidden charges. For more information on how Romain Coleman can help you updating your Will or creating a new Will because your situation has changed, call us now on 0208 520 4555 or fill out our Online Form.

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This post is not legal advice and should not replace professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances. It is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.