You have a Will. That’s GREAT!
Most people don’t quite ‘get around to it’ and then later, it becomes a more difficult and expensive process for everyone concerned (see What Happens If I Die Without a Will).
But I digress. You’ve got your Will. When do you need to re-visit it and possibly write a new Will?
Here’s a quick guide to the various changes in your life when you’ll need to either amend or re-write your Will:
- Marriage: Your Will is likely invalidated when you get married. You are best to write a new Will either immediately after getting married or prior to getting married but referencing your wedding/marriage.
- Separation: If you die without changing your Will, your ex-spouse may end up with your entire estate. So re-write your Will if you get separated.
- Children: You may want to add specific gifts for them or set up a Trust. You should also consider nominating a Guardian, to look after your children in the unlikely event that you and your spouse become incapacitated or die.
- Death of Your Executor: If your sole (or any) of your Executors dies, you should amend your Will to ensure you have someone able to carry out your wishes. Otherwise the Court will appoint an Administrator in the place of your Executor. In this event, your assets may not be distributed according to your wishes.
- New Assets: If you have new and substantial assets – such as a new business, property or gifts you wish to distribute in your Will – you should either amend your Will with a Codicil or write a new Will. If you don’t do this, your assets may become the subject of argument amongst your family and they may end up becoming part of your residual estate, sold and divided up. You may not want this to happen to a business you built or a property you wish to have a family member live in or inherit.
- Changes to Your Wishes: If you want to add or change any gifts or persons in your Will, you should do so as soon as possible. If you have already amended your Will a number of times with a Codicil, it is preferable to re-write your Will to ensure there is no confusion.
- Changes to the Law: From time to time there are changes to the legislation affecting Wills. Most recently, there were substantial changes to the NSW law which had a large impact on many Wills and particularly the way Wills were written after 2010. You should ensure that your Will is up-to-date and valid at all times.
Don’t leave the writing of your Will to the last minute or until it’s too late. Keep your Will updated and review it from time-to-time to ensure you have covered all your family members and have included all your assets.
Don’t be caught out, check your Will today!