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Did you know this can affect your Will?

Feb 27, 2023 | Wills

2023 could be the year of change for you, whether it be a new home, new job, marriage, divorce, or a new member of the family. Whatever it might be, are you aware of some of the different ways in which your Will could be affected?

New Home

If you have bought a new home, congratulations! Does your current Will include your previous home address? If so, please get in touch to have your Will updated to ensure your new property is covered in your Will.
What if this is not done? If for example your current Will gifts a property to your son and this property does not exist at the date of your death, the gift will fail.

Marriage

Did you know that marriage automatically revokes a Will? If your intention is for most, if not all of your assets to go to your new spouse this is fine but at times, if you have children from a past relationship that you want to provide for, they can be disinherited. This would have the effect that on your death, your children receive nothing, everything passes to your new spouse and then to their loved ones.
Of course, your children could challenge the will under the 1975 Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act, but this is costly and time-consuming.
To prevent the above, it is best to review your existing Will before you get married and either re-write it or include a contemplation of marriage clause in it. This is where you express a contrary intention to the ‘automatic revocation’ of your Will upon getting married. Specifically, this clause is a declaration within your Will that your intended marriage to your potential future spouse shall not have the effect of revoking your Will.

Divorce

Whilst divorce does not automatically revoke your Will, the reality is that you probably will not want your ex-spouse to benefit from your Will or any part of your estate.
The good news is that the ex-spouse is treated as if they died when the divorce was finalised (decree absolute) and therefore cannot inherit from you. If there are any gifts to them in your Will, they will fail. However, if you did want your ex-spouse to benefit from your estate or receive something in your Will, you would need to have a provision in your will to state Section 18a Wills Act 1837 will not apply.
Did you know an ex-spouse can try and claim from your estate on your death if they feel as if they should “have been given a piece of the pie” and had reasonable financial provision made for them? The best way to get around this is to exclude them from your Will and have the letter of wishes set out the reasons for this exclusion so if it ever is challenged, the Courts can look at what you have stated and consider it when reaching their verdict.

Children

Your current Will may state “children” or alternatively specifically name your children.
If your Will states “children” this provides for any children that are living at the date of your death. However, if your current Will specifically names your children and you have had more children since, you will need to update your Will to include them also.
With marriage could come step-children so let’s take a look at this now. Apart from legislation relating to the residence nil rate band, did you know step-children are not included in the automatic definition of “children, issue or descendants” when it comes to your Will?
You may class them as your own children as you have looked after them for many years but even if this is the case, they will not benefit if your Will gives your estate to your children. Of course, they can challenge the Will on your death but to prevent costly and time-consuming litigation, if you wish for them to benefit under the terms of the Will, either specifically name them or have “children and step-children” written in the Will. You will be advised on this during your meeting.

Property Abroad

If you own a property abroad i.e. Dubai, we would advise you to have a Will in place in the country where the property is held. It is important to ensure the Will is restricted to assets in that country only.
Why is this? If you write a Will in 2019 and then see a lawyer in Dubai in 2022 and this specific Will is not restricted to assets in Dubai only, your 2019 will be revoked.
If you wish to make amendments to your Will, have a new Will written or any supporting documentation, simply contact your lawyer who will be able to assist with putting these changes in place or draft any new documentation for you. Remember, if you have a new Will written, it will revoke any previous Wills.

Change in Financial Circumstances

If you have had a significant change in financial circumstances, it is a good idea to review your Will. You may need to consider additional planning to mitigate the effects of inheritance tax if your estate is now worth more than when you originally wrote your Will. Similarly, if your estate is smaller than when you first wrote your Will, you may need to consider reducing certain gifts, especially if you have included specific gifts for s set sum of money.

As you can see there are lots of reasons to keep your Will under review. Normally, it is a good idea to check your Will every 3 years to ensure it still reflects your wishes. Also, legislation may have changed since the original Will was written and therefore it may need updating because of that. We offer free Will reviews, so if you have any concerns about your current Will or if you are unsure as to whether your current Will is still fit for purpose, you can book a free consultation and Will review.

Contact us

If you would like to speak to one of our expert Wills lawyers, call us on 01252 268862 or email marie@mgfwills.co.uk

 

Or, if you’d rather arrange a face to face appointment:

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13/01/2021
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