It is estimated that only 10% of newly married couples update their Will after marriage. Any major life event such as marriage, divorce, birth of a child or change in your financial situation have an impact both on your wishes and the distribution of your estate, and also on the validity of your current Will.
Marriage automatically revokes any Will that you have previously made. The only exception to this is if your Will states that a marriage is about to take place and contains explicit instructions that you intend the Will to remain valid after marriage. The same rule applies to Civil Partnerships – since the Civil Partnership Act 2004, members of a civil partnership are treated in the same way as married couples. When a civil partnership is registered, any Will that either partner has previously made is no longer valid.
If your Will is not updated you may as well not have one at all. There is no guarantee that your partner will receive what you intend. A Will is more than just distributing your financial assets, it is about acknowledging those you matter to you, distributing your special possessions, and formally documenting your final wishes.
Heather Varley, Wills and Tax Associate, says “There are two ways to change your Will. You cannot alter an existing Will by writing changes on it yourself – any alterations are assumed to have been made after the Will was executed and do not form part of the original legally valid Will.”
You can make a legal addition to your Will (called a codicil) but there are special rules about codicils so you should seek legal advice on how to get this done. The other option is to make a new Will which will automatically cancel all previous Wills.
For a free initial meeting please call 01202 499255 and Heather or a member of her team will be happy to discuss any questions you may have.