Congratulations, if you are one of the savvy few who have opted to execute a will. You’ve ensured some peace of mind, but do remember that life is ever changing, and as a result, you should always remember to amend your will regularly to reflect your changing circumstances.
When should I amend my will?
If you marry
If you have children
If you get divorced
If you have a change in financial circumstances (for richer or for poorer!)
How does marriage change my will?
If you are a British national, a subsequent marriage will invalidate your will completely. If you do not execute a new will, you will be considered as having died intestate (i.e. without a will) and the rules of intestate succession will apply to your succession. If you marry after executing your will, it is crucial that you execute a new will.
How does having children affect my will?
This does not automatically affect the validity of your existing will, but it is important to review your will if you wish to provide for your children.
How does divorce impact on my will?
A divorce has the effect of invalidating any disposition you have made in favour of your former spouse. If you have appointed your former spouse as an executor, this appointment will fail. If you have made any gifts to your former spouse by will, these gifts will fail and you may fall into a situation of intestacy. You should therefore review your will to ensure that no intestacy will arise.
How does the change in financial circumstances influence my will?
Whether your economic situation improves greatly, or you find yourself suffering great financial losses, it is always advisable to review the terms of your will when your economic situation changes. It might be necessary to take tax planning advice and act accordingly, or change the beneficiaries of your will to reflect your current economic situation.
Your will should therefore always accompany the changes you experience in your life.
Vicky Rodrigues - Neville de Rougemont & Associados
As Benjamin Franklin once famously said, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes".
It therefore always surprises me, as a will and estate practitioner, that so few people stop to think about what will happen to their hard-earned assets once they pass away, and prefer to instead bury their head in the sand.
A properly drawn Will is a powerful planning tool, which enables you to do the following:
Protect your family by making provisions to meet their future financial needs
Minimise taxes that might reduce the size of your estate
Name an experienced executor who is capable of ensuring that your wishes are carried out
Name a trusted guardian for your children
Provide for any special needs of specific family members
Include gifts to charity
Secure the peace of mind of knowing that your family and other heirs will receive according to your express wishes.
The need to put pen to paper and make sure that your last wishes are properly recorded is even greater for specific groups, who need to ensure that they execute a valid will:
People with a partner
People who have remarried where there are children from a previous marriage
Those who wish to benefit someone who is not a direct relative, or would like to benefit a charity
Don't put it off until it is too late; once it's done, you’ll find that you have ensured some peace of mind.