How do I review and update my will? Wills & Probate

It is recommended that you review your will every 5 years or after any major change in your life. Major changes can include:

  • The death of a beneficiary or executor named in your will
  • The birth of children and grandchildren
  • If you get married
  • If you get divorced
  • If you separate from a partner
  • If you move to a new house

If you need to make changes to a will, you must not alter the original document. Doing this will invalidate the will. Depending on the scale of the changes you can either use a codicil or write a new will and revoke the old one.

What is a codicil?

Official alterations to a will are called codicils. These are additional documents which outline changes and amendments to an existing will. There are no limits on how many codicils you can add to your will, however they must be signed by you and be witnessed in the same way as witnessing a will (i.e. by 2 witnesses over the age of 18).

While codicils are recommended for small amendments to a will, you should make a totally new will for major changes. This is because too many codicils can make executing your will more complex and open to dispute.

Writing A New Will

If you create a new will, you should explain that the most recent one officially cancels (revokes) any previous wills and codicils. The old will should also be physically destroyed. This can be achieved by burning it or ripping it up.

Your new will should be created in the same way as the last. It should clearly state who will benefit from your estate and what way, who should care for any children under the age of 18, who should be your executor and what should happen if anyone included in your will dies before you do.

If you create a new will, it is advisable to inform the named executor of this will of its location, so they can access it quickly when required.

Wills & Probate Advice from Beswicks Legal

Having robust plans in place for the future can give you and your loved one’s peace of mind should the worst happen. While lots of us don’t like to think about what might happen after we die, getting your affairs in order and planning for that eventuality can save a lot of heartache further down the line. If you are considering reviewing or updating your will, then contact our specialist private wealth solicitors today. We would be more than happy to support you in putting your affairs in order in a way that works for you and your loved ones.