When Do I Need to Prepare a New Will?

You may need to revise your Will for any number of reasons. Common occasions for reviewing a Will include:

  • Changes in the family - a baby is born, a child becomes 18 (or perhaps some significant later age), or there is a death.
  • Marriage - automatically revokes a previous Will unless your Will expressly states that it is made in contemplation of that forthcoming marriage. It is always safer to prepare a new Will upon marrying.
  • Divorce - unlike marriage, a divorce does not revoke a previous Will. But if your former spouse is named as a beneficiary, then upon divorce he or she will cease to be a beneficiary or receive a gift unless your Will expressly provides that the gift should still take effect if you divorce. If your former spouse is named executor, then upon divorce he or she will no longer be allowed to act as executor or obtain probate of your Will. It is best to make a new Will whenever you get divorced.
  • Separation - does not have the effect on a Will which a divorce has so it is best to review the Will as soon as separation occurs.
  • Change in financial circumstances - you may have recently acquired assets which you would like to give to particular beneficiaries, or perhaps due to hard times your estate may have become insufficient to provide for the legacies you have made.
  • Changes in taxation - if your estate is large enough to attract tax, new taxes or reliefs or changes in the rates may call for charges in your Will.
  • Going to live abroad - it is normally desirable to make a Will in the country where you reside to simplify the administration of your estate. It may also be helpful if you need to establish a change of domicile. Contact us for advice.

In any case, it is a good idea to review your Will every year, so that it is always up to date.

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