By Dani Jones

With personal circumstances forever changing and the majority of us being time poor, for most people it has been quite some time since they last looked at their Will or even thought about it.

Quite often I talk to clients who prepared a Will 20 years ago when they were first married or first started having children.  Since the preparation of the Will, their lives have changed drastically with their young children growing up, further children coming into the world, buying and selling assets and even new business ventures.

It is important to review your Will regularly and update it as needed.  As a rule of thumb, I suggest people review their Will ever 2 years and ask themselves three basic questions: –

  1. What has changed since I last updated my Will;
  2. Are there any additions to the family I would like to include in the Will;
  3. Have I accumulated any new assets or sold of any old assets mentioned in my previous Will.

If you have answered yes to any of these questions it is time to update your Will.  Updating a Will can be quick and painless and for small or minor updates, a short update or Codicil can be added without needing to change or create a whole new Will.

A common mistake also comes with recently married and/or divorced couples not realising a marriage and/or a divorce automatically revokes a Will.

Certain personal circumstances should also lead to an automatic updating of a Will.  Common life events that should trigger a Will update are:

  1. Becoming engaged or married;
  2. Having first or additional children;
  3. Minor children becoming adults;
  4. Becoming separated or divorced;
  5. An executor of your current Will passing away;
  6. A person mentioned in your current Will has passed away;
  7. Having grandchildren;
  8. Meeting a new partner;
  9. Buying a new asset;
  10. Starting a business, company or partnership; and
  11. Disposing of an asset.

Unless a Will is revoked or a new Will is in place, old outdated Wills stand and are valid.  Quite often I see additional children missed out of Wills, adult children who have trustees controlling their inheritance and property or assets gifted that no longer exist.

If you have answered yes to any of the above scenarios or if you don’t have a Will, please feel free to email me at dani.jones@btlawyers.com.autoday to discuss updating or preparing a Will.