Should I Review My Will?

Here at Will Management Service we recommend you review your Will every 3-5 years.

Review Your WillThis is to make sure that your Will still matches your current wishes. We also recommend reviewing your planning when you have a change in personal circumstances, or when a beneficiary has a change in circumstances.

Many a bitter feud has been fought over an inheritance which could have been avoided if the deceased kept their Will up to date.

For a recent example of this we only need look at the Will of Joyce Appleby. In this case a dispute arose over Joyce’s Will which she had written in 2009.

In her Will she had left a share of her estate to her son Don, or if he dies before to ‘his wife Cindy’. Don later divorced Cindy and remarried Maya. He then died before Joyce, and a dispute arose over whether the estate should pass to Cindy or Maya. The basis for Maya’s argument was that as his wife at the time of his death the estate should pass to her, as Cindy no longer fit the description of ‘wife’.

Ultimately Maya lost and it was decided that the half share of Joyce’s £840,000 estate should pass to Cindy.


1. Marriage

If you marry your existing Will is automatically revoked unless it is written in contemplation of that marriage and an appropriate clause included in your Will to state this. If you are engaged and planning on marrying make sure that you advise your Will Writer so that they can advise accordingly.

2. Divorce

If you divorce any gifts in your Will to your former spouse or civil partner are made void. As are any appointments of them as executor, trustee or guardian. Even though gifts to former spouses will fail after your divorce has been finalized it is still a good idea to review your Will planning. After your divorce your financial circumstances may have been changed, or you may want to reconsider how other beneficiaries will be provided for now that you are not providing for your spouse. You should review your Will planning if a beneficiary of yours divorces or is in the process of going through a divorce. This avoids disputes like we have seen in the Joyce Appleby case. There is also planning you could put in place to avoid a beneficiaries share of your estate passing to their spouse in a divorce.

3. Change in Law

It is important to keep abreast of changes in law that may affect your estate planning. This is especially important if you have a large estate that will be liable to Inheritance Tax (IHT) as if tax law changes and your Will isn’t kept up to date your estate may end up paying more IHT on your death. In 2017 there was a large change to tax law that introduced the residence nil rate band – a special IHT allowance where your home is gifted to your children (or other direct descendants). If you haven’t updated your Will to take advantage of this allowance you ought to contact us for a review as soon as possible.

4. General change in circumstances

It is also advised to review your Will after other general changes in circumstances, such as when a beneficiary dies or has children of their own. Relationships change over the years and unfortunately friends and family we were once so close to may drift away so it is important to make sure your Will always reflects your wishes; you probably don’t want to make that gift to the friend that you fell out with you! You may even wish to exclude a person who you previously included, but do make sure you seek professional advice on this first. On a happier note perhaps you have repaired a relationship with a formerly distant child and want to change your Will to benefit them.

If it has been a while since you reviewed your Will, of if you have had a change in circumstance, then now is the time to review it!

2 March 2022

The views expressed in this blog do not in any way constitute advice and are specific to the date noted. As time passes the facts can change and readers should consult their adviser for up to date advice on any matters covered within the blog. Invest Southwest offers an initial review, which is free of charge, however long it takes. From this we will be able to confirm how we can help and give you an opportunity to decide if you would like us to. Thereafter, we will provide you with detailed recommendations and exact costs. Please note that we promise not to levy any kind of fee unless we can demonstrate a benefit to you.

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