As life goes on our needs and desires are constantly changing. Your Will should reflect these changes too. Numerous circumstances should make you stop and think, “do I need to update my Will?” Effectively your Will is your final wish to bestow upon loved ones and it is important to ensure that this wish is your most current and reflects your current personal circumstances.
Congratulations! You have created your Will and it currently reflects your wishes to protect your assets for your loved ones once you are no longer here to do so. However, let’s not just forget about this important document and let it fall by the wayside! The wonderful and often cruel truth about life is that it is unpredictable. Our circumstances are constantly evolving and changing based on our life experiences. This is why it is important to regularly review your Will to make sure that it is still current and reflects your ever-changing personal circumstances.
You need to be aware that there are some circumstances in which your Will might automatically be revoked or invalidated, that is no longer effective. If it is revoked or invalidated and you have not prepared a new one, a previous Will or the rules of intestacy may be applied to your estate after you pass. This is important because this may not reflect your final wishes.
Events that may cause invalidation or revocation to occur include:
- Marrying or entering into a registered relationship after the signing of your Will.
- Divorcing a spouse that you were once married to at the time of the signing of your Will.
As well as the changes noted above there are many other significant events in your life that should prompt you to review your Will. These include:
- Growth in your family (i.e. children, grandchildren, stepchildren, nieces and/or nephews);
- The passing of a loved one;
- Major changes to your financial circumstances;
- A change in your name;
- Buying or selling property;
- Relationship changes;
- An appointed person (i.e. an executor or trustee) passes away or becomes unsuitable to act due to age, capacity or ill-health; or
- You sell or give away assets that are specifically mentioned in your Will.
These events, and some others, all have the potential to change the way that your assets are protected and distributed upon your passing. This is why it is important to regularly check your Will. If you are unsure whether a change or major event in your life may impact your Will, seek advice. Depending on the circumstances, the changes that need to be made and how much time has passed, altering your Will may be as simple as making a minor amendment or it may be that you need to revisit your Will and estate planning, to guarantee that your final wishes are accurate, current and effective.
ABOUT MATTHEW BAILEY:
Matthew has been working with our team since June 2020 and is currently a lawyer in our Hunter Valley office, as part of our Government Law team. However, during his studies and experience, Matthew has developed skills and knowledge in numerous other areas of law. Matthew is also a part of the procurement and tender team at Coutts and drafts all applications and associated documents for Coutts.
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This blog is merely general and non-specific information on the subject matter and is not and should not be considered or relied on as legal advice. Coutts is not responsible for any cost, expense, loss or liability whatsoever to this blog, including all or any reliance on this blog or use or application of this blog by you.