Having an up-to-date Will in place is arguably one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family.
If you die without a Will your estate will be distributed in accordance with the intestacy rules, which may not reflect how you wish your loved one to benefit. You may also miss opportunities legitimately protect your wealth from taxation and secure it for future generations.
Even if you have a Will, it is important that you check it is up-to-date. The Law Society recommends that you review your Will at least once every 3-5 years to ensure it is still valid and reflects your current circumstances and wishes.
Events that may result in your Will requiring amendment include:
- The birth or adoption of children or grandchildren or their coming of age
- Changes in relationships for you and/or your family such as marriages, co-habitees, divorces or separations
- The mental and physical health, or death, of a beneficiary, executor or guardian (or attorney if you have a Lasting Power of Attorney)
- Changes in your financial circumstances such as an increase or decrease in the value of your assets such as the purchase or sale of property, inheritances or windfalls.
- Changes in your wishes regarding who you would like or not like to benefit from your estate
In addition, there were some significant inheritance tax changes in 2017 and your Will should be reviewed to ensure that there are no trusts or clauses which would prevent your estate from benefiting from these tax saving opportunities.
You cannot amend your Will after it has been signed and witnessed – the only way you can alter it is through an official codicil (addition or amendments) which a solicitor can draft for you if the changes in required are relatively minor. If the amendments are more significant, a new Will may have to be drawn up to ensure it is still valid and ensure it revokes all previous Wills and codicils.
If you would like to arrange an appointment to draft a Will, or update an existing one, please contact us on 0118 9756622 and we will be pleased to assist.