How often should you update your will? And answers to other common questions.
Having your will in order is an important administrative task every adult must do.
But how often should you update your will? And what are the other common pitfalls? Here are answers to some of the most common questions about wills.
How often should you update your will?
Though not legally required, it’s good practice to update your will every five years or so. This gives you the opportunity to make sure everything is set out as you’d wish it to be, but also allows you to change your will to reflect changes in your life. For example – perhaps a grandchild has been born since you last updated your will and would like to leave something special in their name or if you moved house and want to leave your new property to your spouse or one of your children. Furthermore, updating your will every five years means you can also stay on top of any changes in the law, for example, the rules surrounding inheritance tax.
Should I make a new will after getting divorced?
After major life changes like a marriage or divorce it’s always best to update your will. If you are separated and this is to become permanent, this is a good moment to update your will; at the time of your death if your divorce isn’t yet finalised and your spouse is named as a beneficiary, they’re still entitled to your assets unless your will has been updated.
Can I write my will myself?
As long as your will is properly signed and witnessed, you can write your will yourself on something as simple as a scrap of paper, and to that end, there are many places online you can download a DIY template to fill out. However, unless your wishes are extremely simple and straightforward – for example, leaving everything to your spouse – some form of legal counsel is likely your best option. Using a solicitor or professional service to create your will helps eliminate the possibility that your friends and family will run into trouble trying to sort out your estate. It also opens you to the possibility that your will is invalid, and that the courts will decide where your money and property should go to.
Can I make arrangements for my pets in my will?
Yes, you can make arrangements for your pet in your will or in your memorandum of wishes so your executors know how you’d like your pets to be looked after when you die. You can’t leave money directly to an animal.
Is it time to update your will? Silversurfers Members can enjoy a special discount from C0-op Legal Services.
Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor
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