Tax & Estate Planning

Why Will Aid month is a great time to update your will

By November 8, 2019 No Comments

November is Will Aid month, where solicitors across the country waive their Will writing fees and instead encourage clients to donate to some excellent causes.

When was the last time you updated your Will? If it has been a few years, then it might be time for you to think about making changes to your wishes to better reflect your current circumstances.

November is Will Aid Month and so the perfect time to think about making or updating a Will. Here, we look at what Will Aid is, how it works, and how it helps some excellent causes. We also outline five reasons why you might need to make updates to your Will right now.

What is Will Aid and how does it work?

Established in 1988, Will Aid is a partnership between the legal profession and nine of the UK’s best-loved charities.

Each November, participating solicitors waive their fees for writing or updating a Will. Instead, these legal professionals invite clients to make a voluntary donation to Will Aid, suggested as:

  • £100 for a single basic Will
  • £180 for a pair of basic ‘mirror’ Wills

For one month of the year, the Will Aid scheme means that you get a professionally drawn-up or updated Will and peace of mind, while the charities receive much-needed donations for their important work.

Charities that Will Aid supports include:

  • Action Aid
  • Save the Children
  • NSPCC
  • Age UK
  • British Red Cross

Since 1988, Will Aid has helped the legal profession to raise over £20 million for good causes. The Will Aid charities all work with some of the most vulnerable people in the UK and around the world and have improved countless lives.

And, during the last three decades, Will Aid has encouraged and helped more than 300,000 people to make their Wills. By writing their Wills, these people may have spared their family the distress of coping with legal complications at an already emotional and stressful time.

Even if you have already made your Will, November is still a good time to check whether it is still relevant or whether it needs updating. Here are five reasons you might want to update your Will.

5 reasons you should update your Will this month

  • You have new family members

Families change all the time. Since you made your Will it’s possible that you have had more children or grandchildren, or your children or grandchildren may have married.

These days blended and extended families mean that there may be certain individuals that you want to include – or exclude – from your Will. Updating your wishes mean that your assets will go to the right people and will reduce the likelihood of inter-family squabbles or a party challenging your Will when you die.

  • You have got married or divorced

In England and Wales, getting married will revoke your existing Will unless you made it in contemplation of the marriage. So, it’s important to update your Will, or make a new one if you have married or remarried.

Divorce doesn’t revoke your Will, and neither does it mean your Will from before you were married comes back into effect. Your current Will remains valid but, for inheritance purposes, your ex-partner is treated as if they had died when your marriage/civil partnership ended.

This can have a serious effect on your estate. If your Will does not state what happens if your ex-partner were to die, you could find that intestacy rules apply. Updating your Will is therefore crucial if you get divorced.

  • Someone you have named in your Will has died

If a beneficiary of your Will dies between the point the Will was made and your death, their estate will usually have no benefit from the Will. The benefit is said to have lapsed, although there are some exceptions to this rule.

In these circumstances, it is important that you understand what will happen to the gift left to the deceased beneficiary, and to decide what should happen in light of the death. Updating your Will is one way of dealing with this situation.

  • You want to change an executor

If you made your Will some time ago then you may have chosen executors who you no longer wish to carry out the role. It’s possible that you have lost touch or even fallen out with a nominated executor, or they may have died since you made your Will.

Problems can arise if you haven’t updated your Will and there is no one suitable to administer your estate when you die. So, updating your Will regularly to ensure the right executors are in place is vital.

  • Your financial circumstances have changed

It is quite possible that you may have experienced a substantial increase or decrease in wealth since you made your Will. If that is the case, it’s time to review it.

For example, you should review your Will if:

  • You buy or sell a home or other property
  • You start or sell a business
  • You inherit any cash, property or assets.

In these cases, you may want to make changes to the way your assets are dispersed when you die.