Whenever you made the smart decision to have a Will drafted, you obviously were concerned to have all of your affairs in order. Your Will would have been a reflection of your situation at that time and most likely gave you peace of mind knowing that your affairs had been settled. However, over time, your circumstances can change. Financial situations change, relationships are altered, and what might have been true when you had your Will made up might be different today. You may have questions, such as, do I need to update my Will, or, what is probate?

You should review your Will now if your answer is yes for any of the following questions.

Since your Will was made:

– Have you separated or divorced from your partner?
– Have you married?
– Have you widowed?
– Have any of your personal or family relationships changed?
– Have any of your Executors or beneficiaries moved away or died?
– Do you have more children or now have children that you did not have before?
– Have any adult children of yours married?
– Have any young children grown up now?
– Do you have grandchildren now?
– Have you acquired any property abroad, or other property in this country – a holiday home, for example?
– Have you sold your property and moved into residential care?
– Have you sold, bought or started a business?
– Has the value of property increased?
– Did you inherit a legacy that has substantially increased the overall value of your estate?
– Have you made a Will in a different country for covering your assets abroad?

Those are just some examples, and other changes might have occurred in your personal situation that might result in your Will needing to be changed.

I think my Will might need to be updated – what should I do?

First of all, we need to assess whether or not your changes in circumstances have made it necessary for your Will to be changed.

We offer an initial free consultation so that you can discuss your existing Will and new situation and see if you should make an appointment to talk to one of our specialists. After we are aware of what changes are needed for your Will, then we will provide you with an idea of the expenses that are involved, if it is necessary to update your Will.

How do I make changes to my Will?

There are two different ways to amend your Will. The first one is using a Codicil, which is a legal document that states all of the variations that are made to your original Will, and must be witnessed and signed in the same way that your original Will was. Then the Codicil is stored with your original Will. In some circumstances, a Codicil is not appropriate and our specialist will fully discuss this with you before proceeding with it. This is well worth considering as a Codicil gets stored along with your original Will; both of the contents can be seen and that might not be what you desire.

The second way to make a change to a Will is to draft an entirely new one. We have an information guide on making a Will. It describes what our standard service includes. We can also offer a number of different additional services, for example, Estate Planning, use of Trusts, how to reduce your Inheritance Tax, and claims made against your estate. We will be happy to discuss any additional fees for those services during our appointment with you.

The addresses of individuals named in my Will have changed – is it necessary for me to make a new Will?

No, not if those are the only changes that need to be made. Changes are sometimes very simple, like amending the addresses of your beneficiaries or any of the other parties that are named in your Will. In that case, if we hold your Will, we will just ask you to confirm your changes in writing, date and sign the letter, and then mail it to use so we can store it along with your Will. We do not charge for that service.