Over time, changes in circumstances can mean that a Will becomes out of date and doesn’t accurately reflect your wishes. We look at how to ensure your Will can cope with changes.
It is a good idea to make a Will, even if you are young. It helps keep your financial affairs organised and if anything should happen to you, it will be of comfort to your loved ones to know your wishes. You should review your Will from time to time, and update it if necessary. But careful drafting will help it stand the test of time.
Executors and guardians
When you write a Will you need to appoint one or more executors to deal with the administration of your estate. This can be a time-consuming and complicated job, so you should ensure that whoever you choose is able and willing to take on the role.
Over time, their circumstances may change, however, and if you have appointed more than one executor, along with substitutes, then there is a good chance that even if someone cannot act, one of your other choices will be able to take over.
Similarly, if you are appointing guardians for children who are under 18, then you should consider alternatives in case your first choice cannot take on the role.
If you leave bequests to children by name, then babies who are born after your Will is written may be excluded.
It is possible to draft a Will that takes into account future births, and includes them alongside those who were already living at the time the Will was made.
Although it is possible to take a number of steps to future-proof your Will, you should note that upon marriage or civil partnership, any Will you have made becomes invalid, unless it was specifically made in contemplation of that marriage or civil partnership.
Change in the value of your estate
Over time, your estate may alter in value considerably, for example, if you come into money or if a substantial amount of money is used in care home fees.
This can affect the proportions of any gifts you leave under your Will. Specified sums are paid out first, then the remainder is split between your choice of named beneficiaries. If the amount in your estate decreases, this could leave those inheriting the residue with less than you envisaged them having.
Even if you are confident that you have future-proofed your Will as far as possible, it is still advisable to review it regularly, and re-draft it if necessary.