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Changng a Will

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When will I need to change my will?

Your will is your opportunity to ensure that your estate is dealt with and distributed in accordance with your wishes upon your death and to ensure that any children you may have are looked after by those whom you would entrust with their care.

It is important having prepared a will that you ensure that it is kept up to date. It may be that your wishes have changed since you made your will or that your circumstances have changed since you made your will.

You should consider changing your will if one of the following events has occurred since you made your will:

  • You have married or entered into a civil partnership

  • You have divorced or your civil partnership has been dissolved

  • You have separated from your spouse or civil partner

  • One of the beneficiaries named in your will has died

  • One of the executors or trustees appointed in your will has died

  • One of the guardians appointed in your will has died

  • A child has been born or you are now co-habiting with someone and would wish to make provision for that person in your will

  • Your financial position has changed

  • You have set up a business

How can I change my will?

A will can be changed in one of two ways – by making a new will or by making a “codicil”.

What is a codicil?

A codicil is a document that amends, rather than replaces, a will. A codicil may add, amend or delete a clause in your will.

When are codicils used?

Codicils are generally used when only small amendments to a will are required, for example to change an executor or a beneficiary.

Since the advent of word-processors codicils have become used to a lesser extent than they once were.

What are the formalities for making a codicil?

For a codicil to be valid it must comply with the same requirements as those required for a will to be valid. For more information on the requirements of a valid will read our article called “Requirements for a legally binding will”.

Making a new will

If you want to make any significant changes to your existing will it is generally recommended that you replace your existing will with a new one.

Many legal advisers recommend that a new will be made even if only relatively minor changes are required so as to avoid any difficulties which may arise as a result of any inconsistencies between a will and a codicil or a chain of codicils.

When making a new will you should ensure that it expressly revokes your previous will and any previous codicils you have made. If you own property situated abroad caution should be taken to ensure that any will you have made relating to your overseas property is not revoked at the same time.

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Single Will or Mirror Wills?

If you are a couple and wish to leave all your assets to each other then you could save money by making  Mirror Wills. You can also use Mirror Wills if you whish to leave your estate to the same beneficiaries. 
If you wish to leave different legacies, appoint different executors or you would like to specify individual funeral wishes then you will need to make two Single Wills.
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