You’ve finally got around to making your will after many years of putting it off, and as you sign, you give a sigh of relief that ‘everything is now sorted’. So how long should you leave it before you review or re-write your will?

Outdated legal documents can be as just bad as having no documents in place at all and can cause havoc for your loved ones.

We are all aware that circumstances in our life and our family change over our lifetime, not to mention the ever-changing law around wills and inheritance tax rules, so it’s important to ensure that your documents are kept up to date.  

I usually recommend to my clients that they review their Will every 3-5 years, but will you remember to do this? It’s also worth stressing that you do not have to wait 3-5 years if you are facing a major life change such as marriage, divorce or you’ve received some inheritance.

Here are 10 key times that you should review your will or make a new one:

  1. Marriage (or civil partnership) or change of name 
    • marriage invalidates any previous will you’ve made
  2. Guardians for children
    • Who will look after your children? Nominate new or change existing
  3. Co-habiting with partner
    • Your partner will not inherit from you unless you include this in your will
  4. Divorce or separation
    • your ex may still inherit or be named as executor/beneficiary
  5. Executor or Trustee dies or is unable/unwilling to act
    • time to name a new one
  6. Gifts – change of provision or legacies
    • gifts can be left to whoever you wish including charity
  7. Beneficiaries – change of beneficiaries (or reserve beneficiaries) for residue
    • you can exclude someone or add someone new
  8. Increase in estate value and liability for Inheritance Tax
    • IHT planning may help reduce liability to pay tax
  9. Trusts in your Will ie., Property Protection, Discretionary Trusts
    • Are they still relevant, or should you remove old ones or add new?
  10. Acquire property or assets in foreign country or make a foreign Will
    • because laws are different abroad

I can also offer a review and advice for (Enduring or Lasting) Power of Attorney documents for personal and business – Property & Financial or Health & Welfare.

If you made a will several years ago and you would like to have a free review to remind yourself what it says and what it will do (and whether that’s still relevant or what you want to happen) then give me a call and I can offer a free will review.