When should I update my Will?

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If you’ve already written your Will. Well done! It’s something that lingers on a ‘to do’ list for years, but actually when push comes to shove it was probably far easier than you thought it would be. Now what happens to it? Well, for most it gets put away in a ‘safe place’ (aka no idea where it is) and, THEN… totally forgotten about. There aren’t many times you find yourself pondering… I really should update my Will.

Life marches on and your Will is really a snap shot of your life at the time you wrote it. Situations change, people move around, families expand and contract, laws change (including Inheritance Tax laws), personal financial changes – you may have a windfall, it does happen! As life changes then so should your will. Here’s a few examples of when you should give your Will a little attention.

I should update my Will when…

I become a parent
Over 70% of UK adults have NOT named Guardians for their children, don’t be one of them.

My children turn 18
Your babies are now legally ‘adults’ while they no longer need named Guardians, you may want to put any inheritance into a trust!

If I remarry
As your new spouse is now legally entitled to everything you may want to put some provisions in place for any children you had previously.

Inheritance Tax Laws change
Inheritance tax (IHT) laws are sewn up VERY tightly. And, to be honest, these days there is very little that you can do to DODGE it. That said things are changing – the personal nil band (the amount you can leave without being taxed) is increasing to £500k per person – read our recent round up of the changes here. It’s wise to keep up to date with what’s going to so you can make the right decisions for your personal circumstances.

Other people die
It’s not all about you, you know. If any of your beneficiaries pass on you’ll need to redistribute anything that you have left to them. Or, you can put a ‘Gift over’ clause in your will which means you pass the gift down their bloodline, which is pretty cool.

Change in my finances
You never know you may have that lottery win (we are talking more than £10 here) or sell your business to Facebook for trillions. Or, you yourself may enjoy a significant inheritance whatever happens you’ll probably want to speak to someone about Inheritance tax mitigation and if things get a little more complex, estate administration.

There’s a significant increase (or decrease) in the value of my estate
House prices are rocketing around the UK. In fact Right Move warn the cost of the AVERAGE London home could hit £1million by 2020 if prices keep rising at their current pace. Is the value of your property pushing you over the Inheritance Tax threshold… what can you do about it if it is? Then, what if you wish to downsize? What are the IHT implications of this… read more about downsizing here.

A change in the circumstances of your executor, guardians, trustees….
Life has a tendency to do unexpected things every so often. Which may mean, for example, your children’s named Guardians are no longer able to take on the responsibility.

Family fall outs
Unfortunately they do happen, in fact sadly a lot more frequently than you think. However, if you want to disinherit anyone you HAVE to update you will.

Charity donations
You may decide you want to leave something to a charity or organisation that’s perhaps supported you or has a particular place in your heart. If you don’t update your will who’s going to know you wanted to leave everything to the preservation of the UKs indigenous Chameleons. Or something.

I’ve not seen if for years…
It’s wise to give your will an MOT every three years or so. Life changes in the blink of an eye and what you want now could be very different to what you wanted back then.

For those of you that haven’t written your will yet, or if you do have one that’s screaming out for some attention… Future Legal Services offer a comprehensive will writing, storage and update service. AND, unlike many banks and solicitors we won’t charge you to update your wills. No matter how many times you do it. Bonus. Call today to arrange your free consultation.

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