The Wills & Trusts Team at rhw recommend that you review your Will at least every 5 years. The last few years have shown that large scale change can happen in a dramatically short period of time. If your Will isn’t reflecting your present circumstances it doesn’t have much chance of reflecting your wishes when you die.

The law (and in particular tax law) is constantly changing, and we suspect in the wake of Brexit and Covid, will be more prone to change in the future then it has in the past. Since you made your Will these legislative changes may mean that the provisions of your Will are no longer the most appropriate for your circumstances.

Equally, your circumstances themselves may have changed. People marry or get divorced or your family may have grown and their needs, or your priorities, altered. You may now be worried about the impact of inheritance tax or long term care charges on what you wish to pass on to your family.

It is essential that you update your Will if any of the following events occur:

  • If you marry or enter into a civil partnership – this is likely to revoke your existing Will automatically
  • Divorce, annulment or dissolution of a civil partnership – these events are likely to affect the provisions of your Will
  • You, or anyone referred to in the Will, changes his or her name
  • An executor dies or becomes unfit to act
  • A beneficiary dies
  • Your estate changes in value in a material way (you might win the lottery!)
  • You no longer own an asset specifically bequeathed in your Will

You may be tempted by a DIY route. We really advise you to avoid this. rhw deals with many cases where Wills are disputed and, if they have been incorrectly altered or badly drawn up in the first place, they can fail to stand up to scrutiny. Do not add handwritten changes to your Will (these are unlikely to be legally valid).

Consult rhw’s friendly team. They will advise you how best to effect the changes and ensure that your Will is as tax-efficient as possible and is able to with stand a potential challenge after you have gone. 

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