Q: How often should I review my Will?
A: Regularly and particularly after there has been a life changing event either directly with yourself, a loved one or someone you have named in your Will.
For example consider these scenarios:
- After a marriage or partnership has been dissolved then any gift to the former partner in their Will generally will be void. This provision does not apply to any other relatives i.e. a former son or daughter-in-law. A client was divorced but discovered his mother’s Will left the estate to him, however provision had been made that if he died before her then his share would pass to his ‘lovely wife’. His mother had lost capacity to deal with her financial affairs and changing her Will would be a difficult process even though the relationship with her former daughter-in-law had broken down Some people will, of course, still want to make provision for a former son or daughter-in-law after a divorce but in our experience this is a rare event.
- If a relationship breaks down and the parties were never married, gifts to one party in the other's Will are not affected. A client discovered that his father’s Will pre-dated a relationship breakup with the girlfriend being the sole beneficiary. They were no longer in contact and she had moved overseas. The current situation meant that his father’s ex-partner was entitled to administer the estate and benefit from it, and in the event of his death our client would need to track down and locate the former girlfriend and pass the estate to her.
Our advice is to always review your Will, and take specialist legal advice.