Recent statistics provided by the BBC have indicated that only three out of every ten people in the UK have made a Will. However, of those people who have made Wills, a large number may find that the provisions that have been set out are now out-dated or that the Will no longer reflects the Will-makers wishes.
The importance of keeping a Will up-to-date is important as over time the dynamics of families can change. Additionally, if a Will is made benefiting young children who have now become adults the provisions regarding Guardianship, and possibly who may be required to be the executors appointed under the Will, may need to be changed.
Many people appreciate the importance of making changes to a Will if they get divorced. However, it is a surprisingly little known fact that the act of marriage has the automatic effect of revoking a previously drawn up Will (unless the Will has been specifically drawn up in expectation of that marriage). Therefore, if you have previously made a Will and then get married it is important that a new Will is made to avoid the estate being divided in accordance with the Intestacy rules (the rules which govern how an estate is divided when a person dies without making a Will).
It is also very important to consider making changes to your Will if a beneficiary’s circumstances means it may be counterproductive to leave them an entitlement, for example, due to their health, their impending divorce or bankruptcy proceeding being brought against them.
It is also advisable to take legal advice regarding your Will in the following circumstances:
a) If an executor dies or becomes unsuitable to act due to ill health or increasing age;
b) If a beneficiary dies;
c) If within the existing Will you have specifically bequeathed any property or assets which you subsequently sell;
d) If your estate materially changes in value;
e) If you have children;
f) If you change your name or anyone mentioned within the Will changes theirs.
Our Wills and Probate team at MKB Solicitors will be pleased to discuss any aspect of your Will with you.Matthew Gibson MKB Solicitors LLP