Is Your Will Up To Date?

12th September 2018

Selina Allen

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September is Wills Month. 

We all know how important it is that we have a will but it is also vital to ensure that it is kept up to date and that all of the information it contains is absolutely correct. Listed below are some of the things that you need to think about, to help you decide whether or not it is time to update your will. 

When was the last time you reviewed your will?

If it's been a few years and you can't even remember where it is, chances are that it will need to be reviewed and updated! It is recommended that you review your will every year. Make a reminder on your calendar so that you don't forget, maybe on a memorable date like New Years, your birthday, or Daylight Savings changing etc. 

Has your relationship status changed since you signed your will?

  • New Partner - Depending on the length of the relationship you may want to obtain further advice on whether to add your new partner as a beneficiary.
  • Marriage - You will need to update your will unless your current one was drafted in contemplation of marriage. 
  • Separation - If you are separated, your last will applies. It is important that you update your will as soon as possible to ensure your beneficiaries are current.
  • Divorced - Your former spouse will be removed as a beneficiary from your existing will. However, it is recommended that you update your will to reflect your current situation.

Have you had a first child? 

You need to update your will to name a guardian for your child. You will also want to include instructions on how they will be provided for financially. 

Have you had another child?

Your existing will can be written to provide for future children. If this is the case then there is no legal requirement to update it. If you have named children in your will then you will probably want to update it each time to specifically name any new children. 

Do your young children have a guardian/s appointed?

A guardian is someone you have chosen to look after your child if both parents are not able to. You need to ask this person before naming them, and make sure they are o.k with accepting this big responsibility. 

A testamentary guardian (guardian named in a will) makes the 'big decisions' when the parents can't - for instance about the child's education and care. 

If you want or need to change a guardian, it is very important that you update this in your will straight away. Once you have gone, the only way to change a testamentary guardian is by the Family Court.

If you have completed your family, are all of your children named in your will?

You may also want to to think about updating your will to include any grandchildren and perhaps your children's spouses. 

For your older children, have you considered setting up a Trust for them?

A trust can benefit them personally, especially with regards to protecting their inheritance from any future relationship claims that could become an issue.

Are you involved with a new club, hobby or charity?

You may be wanting to organise a donation to go to a specified club or charity after you have passed, in which case you will need to update your will to note this. 

Do you wish to change or exclude any beneficiaries of your will?

You will need to update your will if you wish to remove a beneficiary. Speak to your adviser as they will be able to guide you through this process and potentially give you other options to avoid any complications that may arise from this. 

Have you got items you wish to gift to specified people?

Things like jewellery, artwork, furniture, heirlooms, or other items - you may want to speak to your adviser about the options you have, to find the most efficient way of getting these gifts to the right people. You may not be legally required to change your will in each circumstance.

Do you have assets to include in your will?

You will need to update your will if you wish to leave specific gifts of those assets to particular beneficiaries. For example, a named house to a beneficiary, or a specific bank account or life insurance policy.

Other things to think about

  • Have you made sure someone KNOWS where your will is kept? 
  • Does everyone who is stated in your will have their name spelled correctly?
  • Have any of your children's marital status changed?
  • Has there been a death of any of your named beneficiaries?
  • Has a beneficiary had a name change?
  • Do you have Enduring Powers of Attorney in place?
  • Has there been a change in circumstance for my children's guardian?

If you think it is time to review or update your will, don't put it off any longer and get in touch with your adviser now.

Please note: If you choose NOT to have a will, be aware that your assets may not automatically go to your partner/spouse.

Remember, your will is your final message to your loved ones once you have passed while you can, make sure that it contains the correct information for them. 

 For LifeLot Members

If you already have a will, review it and update if required then make sure the correct copy has been uploaded to your account.

If you do not have a will and wish to have one, we have a Will Questionnaire available to help you get started. Once you are happy with your answers, you can take your completed questionnaire to your lawyer to finalise. If you don't have a lawyer,  click here to contact one of our preferred lawyers. Once signed and legal you can then upload your will to your account.

Make sure you have assigned your delegates, so that they know you have a will and exactly where it is kept!

Related: Estate Planning For Different Life Stages | The Legal Stuff | LifeLot Preferred Lawyers


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