How often should I update my will?
Having a will is a great way to leave your dependants something to fall back on in case you leave them through death.
However, while you are still alive, it is even better to know how often you should update your will to remain relevant or to adjust depending on the prevailing circumstances.
Reasons for Updating your will
These circumstances may be occasioned by changes in your property value, selling or buying additional property. In the case of divorce, you may need to update your will even if the divorced partner is treated as deceased. This may be to avert any future controversies regarding your estate.
If you get married , your will is automatically invalidated and you would need to draft a new one with the new dependants and their exact share of your estate, should you cease to live. However, when you are separated with your partner but not officially divorced, your current will holds, and your partner (however separated) is entitled to the share indicated in your current will.
The birth of a new child may necessitate a will review. Similarly, you could also apportion part of your estate to your grandchildren. This means with every development, happy or sad, you may need to appropriately adjust your will to reflect your wishes.
Five years is just fine.
Research indicates that almost half of the people have not updated their wills mostly due to their lack of information on how long should one review their will. Best practice demands that you review your will at least every five years.
Nevertheless, you should update your will after every significant change to your family or financial position. Changes to the tax regulations may also necessitate a change to your current will.
While there is no limit to how many times you can alter a codicil, you must get it witnessed and signed every time you make an alteration. It is, however, advisable to just write a new will instead of inserting codicils to your original will.
Unsuitability or death of an executor
When moving a house or when the executor of the will dies or is unsuitable to preside over your property, it is important that you draft a new will with reasons for the alterations of the previous will.
Here, you would need to outline another executor who shall hold the property in trust for your children until they attain the legal age for owning property.
Similarly, individuals who would need part of their estate to help orphanages or charities may need to review their wills to reflect the same. This way, their wishes are sure to benefit such organizations posthumously.
Death of a beneficiary
You may want to review your will when a beneficiary in your will crosses the greatest divide before you. In this case, you may need to review the will, and if possible apportion part of the estate to another person or redistribute the share among the remaining beneficiaries.