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If you are reading this article, you probably already have a Will. That is a great first step in ensuring the protection of the ones you love and your assets. Now you need to think to yourself – how long ago did I have my Will done? Five years? Ten? It is amazing how many people create just one Will in their lifetime and then leave it in place for the rest of their lives.
If your Will is older than a decade, you should look at updating it. Consider how many things can change in the course of a decade: some family members are born while others pass away, you can climb both the career and property ladders or find yourself falling back down them, and some acquaintances can blossom into friendship while other friendships can fall out. Your Will may need to be updated after every major life event to ensure that your wishes are protected.
Births and deaths - If you have family members listed as beneficiaries in your Will it is crucial that your Will is kept up to date. Family members are able to claim against your estate if they have been left out of your Will, so if you have included grandchildren A, B and C in your Will but haven’t had it updated since grandchild D was born, grandchild D will be able to claim against the estate. This will cause added stress to your family at an already difficult time. At the other end of the spectrum, if any of your beneficiaries have died you should make sure they are taken out of your Will so as not to cause any confusion about who the asset in question should be given to.
Guardianship - If you have children under the age of 18, think about who you have listed as their guardians. If you have fallen out with that person, you may no longer wish them to have guardianship of your children if you pass away. In this case you should consider who you want to care for your kids and have the guardianship provision changed.
Valuable property - As you get older, you have probably moved up the ranks in your career. As you’ve earned more money, you’ve probably been able to invest in more valuable houses or flasher cars. Make sure that your Will reflects this situation; it may affect the way you want to split your assets up.
The executor - Your executor is the person you have listed to oversee your Will being carried out correctly. Often people will choose a professional such as a lawyer or an accountant to be their executor, instead of a friend or family member. As silly as it sounds, you should check that your executor is still alive! If you have chosen a professional, your executor may not necessarily be someone you know on a personal level and so news of their death could have evaded you. You should check that your executor is alive so that at the time of your death it is clear to the court who it is that will be overseeing your Will.
Disclaimer: The information on this page is general information only and must not be relied on as legal advice. Legal Beagle is not a law firm or a substitute for a law firm. We are unable to provide any kind of advice, explanation, opinion, or recommendation about possible legal rights, remedies, defences, options, selection of legal documents or strategies.
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