Is your Will still valid and right for your life as it is now? Take advantage of our free Will review service to make sure.
If you’ve already thought about what should happen to your estate when you die and made a Will, well done you. You’re already ahead of the other 54% of UK adults with no plans in place. But when did you last check over your Will to make sure it is still valid and fit for purpose?
Since the launch of RfM Legal Services in 2018, Client Relationship Manager Sharon Rigden has reviewed many clients’ existing Wills to check they are still valid and set out in the best way. We asked Sharon to explain the most common reasons why someone might need to update their Will.
Getting married automatically voids your Will
“Most clients don’t realise that, unless your existing Will has the marriage clause written in, getting married will make it invalid,” explains Sharon.
“A marriage clause allows couples who are together as partners to write a Will that will remain valid even if they decide to marry each other in the future.
“The facility to add the marriage clause to a Will was only introduced a few years ago, so a Will over 3-4 years old could already be invalid if you have since married.”
And if you live together but don’t have Wills? “Many couples assume that if they live together their partner will automatically inherit their estate,” continues Sharon. “There is a false belief that after two years of living together a couple has the same rights as if they were married. This isn’t the case and, if one partner were to die, without a Will the other partner would not be the beneficiary.”
The executors are no longer right for the job
“When you make a Will, you nominate the people you would like to carry out your wishes when you die. There are many reasons why the executors you picked several years ago may no longer be the right choice; for example, if they have moved away, are elderly or have themselves passed away.
“It is common for people to have their spouse or partner as an executor. However, it is essential to also name at least one reserve executor in case your spouse or partner is unable to act,” adds Sharon.
“I have also found that, in the past, many people named their solicitors as executors. This ensures that the wishes of the deceased are carried out objectively and to the letter but it’s worth remembering that a solicitor will charge for their services.
“Where clients own a business, it may be appropriate to have different executors to deal with personal separately from business affairs.”
On reflection, a mirror Will may not protect your heirs
“The traditional and most common way to structure a Will is for everything to be left to your spouse (known as a mirror Will). However, this means that your assets could ultimately be directed away from your children. We refer to this outcome as ‘Sideways Disinheritance’.”
Learn more about Sideways Disinheritance here
“As an example, if you were to pass away and your spouse remarried, on the event of their death their assets (including the ones they inherited from you) would pass on to their new spouse.
“Following a divorce, it is also essential to review your Will to ensure it reflects the new circumstances,” emphasises Sharon.
“Putting assets into a Trust will prevent sideways disinheritance and give you peace of mind that your children and loved ones’ inheritance is protected.”
Avoiding challenges to your Will
“If there is someone that you wish to exclude from your Will (even if they were never included) it is important to note this in your Will. Older Wills do not have this type of information. So, unless you make a change to your Will, a person could make a successful challenge in court because there is no evidence to say that they should be excluded.”
Arrange your free Will review today
Please email Sharon Rigden or call 01772 431233 to arrange a free consultation to review an existing Will, or to discuss making a new Will, putting assets into Trust, Powers of Attorney or another legal matter.
Your consultation will take place at a time and location to suit you and you will not be obliged to act on the advice given.