Do you fall into the “New Year, Fresh Start, Get things Done!” camp, or are you not yet ready to come out of hibernation?
Lots of people seem to be in the “Get things Done” mode at the moment – judging from the number of enquiries about writing Wills I’ve received since opening back up after the festive period.
And quite right – we should all have a Will, even if you think you have nothing much to leave. Taking the time to at least appoint an executor means that when it comes to dealing with your estate, their task will be much easier. You can read more about writing your Will here.
If you are the person who has already ticked “Write Will” off your list, well done you! The question for you is – do you need to update it?
Once written, your valid Will remains in place until you cancel it, or write a new one. So, if you wrote your Will when your child was 5 years old, and now you’ve got a 5 year old grandchild, it is probably time to revisit it. Dig it out, check where it is stored (in your filing cabinet? In your solicitor’s storage?), and read it.
There are some important things to check such as:
· Are your proposed executors still around? Perhaps you appointed your solicitor’s firm, or even a named solicitor – are they still at the firm, are they even still practising as a solicitor. If you appointed a family member, are you still in contact with them, are they still alive, are they still the person you would want to deal with all of your affairs? If not, it might be time for an update.
· Did you leave your estate to a trust for young children who are now all grown up? You may not need the trust anymore. Perhaps you’d like to now include grandchildren as well as children?
· Have names and addresses changed for any of your beneficiaries? Maybe now’s the time for a refresh.
If any of these apply to you, it is definitely time to review your Will. You might benefit from starting afresh, or perhaps a simple Codicil to attach to your Will would be enough. Make an appointment with me if you need advice about whether or not to update your Will.
If none of these apply to you, excellent, gold star all round, you can relax.
So, if you wrote your Will more than one year ago, or your circumstances have changed since you wrote it, dig it out and read it through:
· If your Will still does what you want it to, great, put it back in the drawer until next year.
· If you’re not sure it still meets your needs, or you know that it needs to be updated, seek advice about how best to achieve that.