How Often Should You Update Your Will?

How Often Should You Update Your Will?

Does your Last Will and Testament reflect your wishes? Since updating it, your circumstances may have changed. If so, this could cause stress and confusion for family members and friends left behind at an already difficult time should the unthinkable happen. 
Hiring specialist solicitors to update your will could provide much-needed peace of mind and ensure your final wishes are honoured.

With that in mind, here’s a guide as to how often you should update your will and why.

How often should you update your will?

As a general rule, we suggest you review your will every five years or after any of the major life changes listed below.

Our experienced team of solicitors have been updating wills for customers in Devon and Somerset for many years. When talking to clients they make a point of explaining just how much can change within a five-year period.

Here are some major life events which would require you to update your will…

1. Change of marital status

Whether you’ve married, re-married, or divorced your spouse, updating the beneficiaries in your will is recommended. For example, if separating you may not want any stepchildren to benefit from your estate. 

On the other hand, you may wish to add your spouse’s children to your will.

2. Unexpected financial setback

What if your wealth decreases? You may need to speak to your solicitor with a view to changing beneficiaries or how much each receives after your passing.

3. Changes to the legal process

The law changes over time. When this happens it’s wise to review and update your will. That’s because such changes could affect how much your beneficiaries get. Your solicitor will be in a position to help optimise your estate planning strategy – so your loved ones are looked after.

Even if your life hasn’t significantly changed, asking solicitors to review your will is still advisable. That way you can ensure it is still accurate and that there won’t be any future surprises.

Should you update your will using a codicil?

In essence, a codicil is a supplementary document that can be used to alter or explain your will. For example, you may want to modify or remove part of it due to an unforeseen change in circumstances.

Solicitors can write a codicil for you. It would cost less than updating your will — which is no doubt appealing. However, there’s a chance this important document could be overlooked unless stored in the same place as your will.

Although still in common use, solicitors tend to use codicils for making minor changes to a will. They rarely use them for altering details about a property asset as this could result in confusion should the matter come before a probate court.

Solicitors covering Exeter and the surrounding areas

At Everys, we’re an independent law firm with expertise covering everything from wills and probate to residential property disputes. 

If you’ve yet to make a will, or you’d like to update an existing one, contact our friendly team for guidance today.