“I already have a Will!”

“I already have a Will”, is a familiar cry I often hear from potential clients.

The answer, “I don’t know” almost invariably follows when I ask the questions, “how long ago did you do it?”; “what does the Will say or do?”; have any of the details changed since?”; “have you yourself had any major life changes?”

Contrary to popular belief a Will isn’t, or shouldn’t be, a document you do, and then stick in a drawer for years on end. It is, in fact, a document that should be reviewed on a fairly regular basis. By review, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it needs to be amended or rewritten; but it might.

At Prior Knowledge we recommend this exercise be carried out every 3 or 4 years or so. Why? Well a lot can change in that time.

First, the law changes on a fairly frequent basis; is your current Will up to date with those changes?

Second, the wording of Wills can also change over time. It doesn’t mean that your current Will won’t work, but newer wording might help it work better.

Third, have you or anybody named in the Will changed address?

Fourth, have you acquired more property?

Fifth, has there been a death, birth, divorce or marriage that may affect things?

Sixth, are the named people still part of your life? Often people fall out with their appointed guardians, or executors. In which case you will definitely wish to update the Will accordingly.

Seventh, have you acquired more wealth or an inheritance of either money or items – like jewellery – that needs to be reflected in the Will?

Eighth, has a child or other beneficiary suddenly become vulnerable, or disabled or in an abusive or narcissistic relationship, or just ‘in a bad place’, or doing drugs and so on? If so, this is a really important time to change your Will accordingly, to make sure they inherit at the right time and in the right circumstances.

A lot can change in 3 or 4 years so it is important your Will reflects those changes and the current situation in your life.

At Prior Knowledge we offer a completely free Will review. Very often a Will does something the client had no idea it did, or does something that is no longer appropriate. Or sometimes it is perfectly fit for purpose and, if it is, we tell the client so. Life changes, and with it the needs and requirements of a Will change too. As ex-PM Harold Wilson supposedly once said, “A week is a long time in politics”. 3 or 4 years is an equally long time in one’s personal, private and professional life.