Help with reviewing and changing your will
Your financial and family circumstances change as time passes, so it is important that you review the terms of your will at regular intervals. We recommend that at least once every five years you carefully consider whether you need to make a new will, or change or update your existing will.
Reasons for changing an existing will
You may wish to make a new will or update your will in the following cases:
- If there are changes to the inheritance tax rules, or other relevant changes in legislation
- If you get married or divorced
- If you buy or sell anything that you have made a specific gift of in your will
- If you have more children
- If you move outside the UK
- If the person you appointed as a guardian dies, or becomes too ill to look after your children if you die
- If you want to change your executors
- If you change your mind about anything in your will
In all these circumstances, it is best to make the position absolutely clear with a new will.
Your will is cancelled automatically, if:
- You make a subsequent will
- You get married or enter a civil partnership
- Your will is physically destroyed
You will then need to make a new will or the rules of intestacy will apply.
Adding a codicil to a will
There are situations in which you might want to keep a previous will, but just make minor changes to it. You can do this by making a codicil.
A codicil is an independent document in its own right:
- If you cancel your will at a later date, you will not automatically cancel a related codicil
- Your new will must make it clear that it changes the terms of, or cancels, the earlier codicil
- In every will there should be a clause revoking any previous wills or codicils.
The codicil is subject to the same formal requirements as the will. Common uses of a codicil are:
- To change an executor
- To change a specific gift
- To add a beneficiary
- Other minor alterations
If you want to make more fundamental changes to your will, we recommend making a new will.
We also recommend making a new will if you do not want people to know the specific changes in your will, as your last will and codicils to it become public documents once Grant of Probate has been issued.
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Please contact us to discuss how to ensure that the terms of your will are exactly as you intend them.