It is important to review your Will every three to four years to ensure that it is still valid and up to date.
There are a number of everyday life events which can cause your Will to become ineffective. Some key triggers to consider are:
Marriage or Divorce
Marriage automatically revokes your Will, it is therefore important to renew your Will after marriage has taken place or ensure that any Will is made ‘in contemplation of marriage’ to your new spouse.
Similarly, while a divorce does not revoke your Will, any provision or clause which involved your ex-spouse will be invalid. If you have appointed him/her as an executor or trustee in your Will, they will no longer be able to act and these clauses will fail.
Another essential time at which to review your Will is after the birth of a child/children. It will be necessary to make provision for your children within the Will to ensure that they inherit as you wish and also, to appoint guardians. This is essential for children under 18 as it is your opportunity to ensure someone of your choice is responsible for your children’s upbringing should you pass away.
Someone Named in Your Will Passes Away
If you have left a gift to someone who has now passed away, or they had been named as an executor in your Will, it will be essential to make changes. The gift will have to be directed to another beneficiary and you will need to appoint new executors.
An invalid Will creates an intestacy situation and instead your estate will be distributed in accordance with the Family (Inheritance and Provisions) Act 1925. Always remember to review your Will – and prevent your estate and assets being divided in a way in which you did not intend!