Wills & Estates

Three reasons to update your Will in 2023

Will draftingWith the new year fast approaching, now is a good time to start thinking about revisiting your Will and making updates in light of your current circumstances.

It is a good idea to review your Will regularly to ensure that it accurately reflects your wishes and any changes to your financial circumstances.  Why not make it a new year’s resolution?

There are a number of reasons as to why your Will may be outdated.  For example, you purchased your dream home, you purchased an investment property, you got married or divorced.

In this article I will discuss three common scenarios which might prompt you to consider to change your Will.

Scenario 1 – Has someone entered or left your family? 

The reality is that in our lifetime we will face the unfortunate event of losing a loved one.  Whether this happens by way of death or divorce/separation, when we gift assets to them in our Will, we should reconsider the distribution of that gift elsewhere.

Divorce can void a Will and therefore it is important to make a new Will promptly.

If you expect to get divorced, it is essential that you get legal advice to avoid any unexpected consequences.

Marriage will also void a Will unless special wording has been added to include your intentions to marry that person.

You may also have had the joy of welcoming someone new into your family perhaps the birth of a child, grandchild or a successful adoption.  In this situation, you might want to consider updating your Will to include a gift for the new addition.

Scenario 2 – Have your financial circumstances changed?

During our lifetime there may be times where our estate will change dramatically.  For instance, you finally won the long-awaited lotto or you received an inheritance.  Has your financial position changed in an unthinkable way?

The reality is that your financial position may have been reduced.  You may have sold or disposed of assets.  For example, the land you held in a new housing estate which is now not worth as much as it was when you purchased the land and you specifically left it to a particular person in your Will.  It is important to update your Will, particularly if there are reasons behind why the gift will now fail.

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on people’s lives and for some in a traumatic way, particularly with respect to their finances.  In this case, if you face these challenges, you might want to review your Will to determine how your estate is to be disbursed.

Scenario 3 – Have you changed your mind?

People’s relationships during their lifetime can change in very dramatic and unforeseen ways.  For example, that close relationship that you had with your child has now become extremely strained and you no longer see or speak to that child due to a number of differences.

A significant change in your circumstances may have an impact on your estate whether it be for better or worse.  Therefore, you may want to change the terms of your Will.   Having a change of heart over some personal aspect one way or another may be a trigger to reflect on your new priorities.  For example, you might want to consider a new charity for a bequest, or you might want to leave a greater portion of your estate to one child as opposed to the other.

The relationship you once had with your current executor may have changed for the worse and therefore you may want to consider appointing someone neutral such as your lawyer to be appointed as your executor.

The appointment of a minor’s guardian is extremely important decision to make.  The relationship you have with the current guardian may no longer exist or they simply may not be in a position to take on that role in the unfortunate event of the passing of you and your spouse.

If you do decide to make changes to your Will,  it is extremely important that you do them properly.  It is not enough to make the amendments yourself by doodling over the Will and initialling the changes or writing a letter to your executor setting out the changes.  Simple changes can be done quickly and efficiently by a lawyer.

In some circumstances you might think you need to make changes to your Will however this may not be necessary.  Getting advice from your lawyer will put your mind at ease that your financial affairs are in order.

Get in touch!

TGB’s Wills & Estates team can help you with all of your estate planning needs, giving you and your family clarity, certainty and control.

Find out more information about our Wills & Estates services, get in touch with us here, or give us a call:

Adelaide: (08) 8212 1077

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