7 changes that could mean
you need to update your will:
You’ve moved house
After all, the Will should state that a particular property, with a given address, will be passed on, rather than your ‘home’.
You’ve had a Spring clean
If you mention particular items in your Will to hand down, but no longer have them, you’ll need to update your Will.
You feel differently about a charity
You may have become closer to a charity and wish to leave a gift in your Will, or change one that you’ve made before. It’s important that your wishes are clear.
situation has changed
If your Will states an amount to give, rather than a percentage of your estate, but the size of that estate has changed, those amounts may no longer be quite right. Similarly, if the value of your assets, such as your house or your investments has changed, you may wish to update your Will to ensure the gift is what you had in mind.
A loved one
has passed away
If someone named in your Will as a recipient of your estate dies and you have no alternative recipient listed, it could end up with someone you would never have chosen. Don’t forget, you may also need to name a new executor.
A new member of the family has arrived
When a new child or grandchild comes into the world, they are not automatically added to your Will, they need to be named. Don’t miss anyone out!
A new partner
If you’ve married someone else since writing your Will, that Will is legally rendered invalid, meaning you need a new one to ensure your wishes are carried out. Divorce won’t invalidate your Will, but in England and Wales your ex-spouse will be prevented from receiving anything.
For peace of mind, the best way to ensure your wishes will be carried out is to regularly update your Will. Fortunately, writing and updating your Will is a lot easier and more affordable than you might think.
You can make minor alterations to your Will using something called a ‘codicil’ – essentially a document that amends an existing Will, but doesn’t replace it. These are ideal for small changes such as:
- Changing the value or recipient of a gift, for example, adding a charity to your Will
- Appointing a new executor, trustee or guardian
- Changes to your funeral plans
Your solicitor can supply a codicil form, and many charities also provide them if you plan to update your Will to leave a gift to them. It’s important to note that you must witness and sign the codicil in the same way required for a ‘full’ Will. A solicitor will generally charge between £30-70 to update a Will using a codicil, and it’s recommended to do this, rather than updating it yourself, to ensure your wishes are filed correctly.
If you’re making more than one change to your Will, or the change is more substantial, it is recommended that you create a new document.
To write a new Will, you have two options:
Make your Will with professional legal advice, such as a solicitor.
You may already have a solicitor that you use, or
Make your Will online
There are several easy-to-use online Will-writing services that are either free, or lower cost than using a solicitor. E.g. Farewill, Bequeathed
Get a new Will or update yours for free
The featured charities have partnered with organisations such as Bequeathed and The Goodwill Partnership to be able to offer free Wills. These organisations give you help and support to make your Will, you won’t be obliged to leave a gift to the charities, but many people see this as the perfect opportunity to help their favourite cause.