When should you be updating your Wills?




Getting married or entering a civil partnership

Marriage or entering a civil partnership automatically revokes a Will unless it was written in contemplation of that marriage or civil partnership. If the Will is not updated, then you at risk of dying intestate and might mean that their spouse or civil partner will not receive the estate as intended. Equally, it could mean children or other family members are disinherited if a new Will isn’t made.

Yes, update needed– to ensure your beneficiaries are inheriting as you intended unless a contemplation clause was included.


Getting divorced/dissolving a civil partnership

Gifts made to a spouse/civil partner in a Will are automatically cancelled upon divorce or when a civil partnership is dissolved. The same applies where a spouse or civil partner is appointed as an executor. The Will treats it as though that person has pre-deceased the client. However, it does not apply to their family so ‘in-laws’ may still be included unless updated.

No, update needed– it is not a legal requirement to update the Will, but it is best practice to make it easier for your executors and ensure all wishes are up to date.


Moving house

The Will needs to be correct at the date of signing so if you move house between giving your instructions and attestation then the address needs to be updated before you sign. Once the Will is signed, moving house does not affect the validity of the Will; it is best practice to have any addresses updated but it is not strictly necessary. The same principles apply if anyone named in the Will changes address. Consideration needs to be taken if the Will includes a trust for the property to ensure it has been purchased correctly (as tenants in common).

No, update needed– it is not necessary to update the Will each time someone moves.


Having or adopting a child

If a child joins the family after making the Will and the Will does not make provision for future children, then this could affect the distribution of the estate. Guardians should also be included in a Will when minor children are involved. Children have the right to claim under the IPFDA 1975 so this needs to be taken into account.

Yes, update needed– to ensure that provision has been made for them and to include guardians if these have not been previously stated.


Owning assets abroad (including in Scotland)

Moveable assets such as bank accounts will fall under the jurisdiction of the country in which the testator is domiciled in at the date of their death. Immoveable assets such as properties are governed by the succession laws of the country in which that asset is situated in. If immoveable assets are purchased or obtained, then a Will should be made in that country to dispose of those assets, but care needs to be taken to ensure that new Will does not revoke their current Will.

No, update needed– it is not necessary to always update their current Will, but a new Will may need to be made in a different country.

Posted by Steve Christmas / Posted on 08 Sep
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