The importance of making and revising your Will (Guest Post)

If you do not make a Will the Government effectively makes a Will for you. Although many people assume this will reflect their intentions this is, sadly, not the case.

For example:

(i) If a husband or wife dies without a Will the estate will not automatically pass to the survivor. If they have children, part of the estate may pass directly to the children, which could result in severe hardship for the surviving spouse.

(ii) If one of a couple who are unmarried dies the surviving partner will inherit nothing as the estate will go to the relatives.

Making a legally valid Will is the only effective way to ensure you protect those that you care about.

Reviewing your Will

Wills should be reviewed regularly and may need to be changed to reflect any of the following:

(i) Entering into a marriage or civil partnership which will invalidate your existing Will

(ii) Changes in your personal circumstances

(iii) Changes in your financial circumstances

(iv) Acquisition and/or disposal of a property

(v) Changes in tax laws may result in your existing Will no longer being tax effective

You should get legal advice on creating a Will whenever possible.

Does marriage or divorce affect my Will?

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, your Will is cancelled automatically if you get married or enter into a civil partnership unless the Will contains a clause stating otherwise. For example, if the Will had been made just prior to the marriage or civil partnership.

If you get divorced, any gifts in favour of your partner, husband or wife will be cancelled, unless the Will states otherwise, and therefore your Will would be read as if they had already died. It is essential that you consider making a new Will if there are changes to your personal circumstances.