Making changes to your Will?
We recommend that clients review their Will every 3 years. This is because there may have been changes in your life which may have triggered a necessary change in your Will. These could include:
- getting separated or divorced
- getting married (this cancels any Will you made before)
- having a child
- moving house
- if the executor named in the will dies
It might be that, after reviewing your Will with your Solicitor, you decide that no changes are required. If however you do decide that changes are necessary, there are two ways to do this depending on the extent of the changes needed.
One way to update an existing Will is to make a codicil. This is a legal document which allows you to make changes to an existing Will. There are no rules to say what changes can be made using a codicil, or how many codicils you can make. However, if there are a number of them this can add to the complexity of administering a Will after someone has died.
A codicil is more suited to situations where a minor change is needed, for example, changing the age at which a beneficiary will receive a gift or changing an address of a beneficiary. A codicil must be properly prepared and has the effect of adding to your existing Will. It does not revoke the original Will. You will need to sign it and it must be witnessed by two independent witnesses.
If a major change or number of changes are required to your Will, then a codicil isn’t suitable. Instead, we would recommend making a new Will.
If the changes you wish to make are significant, writing a new Will may be the best option for you. A new Will must revoke any previous Wills or codicils.
Once you have updated your Will, be sure to tell your executors where the new Will is stored so that they can obtain it at some future date. Your Solicitor will advise you on destroying the previous Will and any copies.
Whether you decide to use a codicil or make a New Will completely, it would be advisable to use a reputable firm of solicitors This will avoid unnecessary problems after your death. It is particularly important to consult a Wills specialist if your circumstances are complicated by issues such as:
- Owning assets outside England and Wales
- You are a business owner and the business is part of your estate
- There are inheritance Tax issues
- You are part of a complicated family structure.
If you have a question for Natalie or would like to talk to her about making changes to your existing Will, or making a Will for the first time, you can get in touch with her at:
T: 01943 609969