A Will is not a ‘once and for all’ document. It should be viewed as a starting point for your succession planning and built upon, modified and updated as your personal and life circumstances change.  There are however particular life events which duly warrant a review of your will:

  1. Marriage/Divorce

Unless the will was made in contemplation of marriage and expressly states so, a subsequent marriage will invalidate a will. Therefore, a new will needs to be put in place as soon as possible upon marriage otherwise you will be deemed to have died intestate (without a will).

Similarly if you become estranged from your spouse or obtain a Divorce order, then updated legal advice and instructions will be required to put a new will in place to ensure it meets your current circumstances.

  1. Births

The birth of a new child will require you to review your Will to ensure that the minor child is now catered for under the terms of your Will. In particular, Guardians and Trustees need to be considered in the event the unthinkable occurs where both parents die before the child reaches adulthood.

  1. Deaths

The death of any named beneficiary, person intended to benefit or take an interest under your estate or the death of any named executor in the Will, will require you to update and review your will. This is vitally important. The death of a named beneficiary in your Will can cause the passing of the estate to potentially fall into the hands of persons you never intended to benefit in the first place.

  1. Major life Events such as buying or selling property

Property owned jointly with another person may be owned as ‘joint tenants’ or ‘tenants in common’ and these will affect how the property will pass on your death. A joint tenancy means that the property will automatically pass to the surviving tenant, regardless of what you state in your Will.

Tenants in common allows you to control who receives your share of the property under the terms of your Will. Any property not expressly dealt with in your Will falls into the residue clause i.e. what is left over, and this may be not what intend.

If you buy or sell property, then you must take account of this under your will to ensure your wishes are met in terms of the passing of the property or the sale proceeds of that asset after your day.

  1. Tax Planning

For clients with particular tax planning needs, tax changes occur with virtually every Finance Act nowadays, meaning that your will should be at least reviewed and probably update on an annual basis.

It is therefore advisable that you review your Will regularly in line with changes in personal circumstances, life events or where changes in financial planning is required and at the very least every two – three years.

If you want to create or amend your Will, contact McElhinney & Associates Solicitors today on (074) 9175989 or email admin@mcelhinneyassociates.com