Is your Will valid?
Everyone should have one, but do you know how to make your Will valid? In recent years Will writing kits and online options have become very popular, and that’s great! However, those rarely tell you how to maintain your Will and keep it valid.
Once you it’s been written (professionally written or one which you have written yourself) any changes to your circumstances could make it invalid. These changes include:
- The death or loss of mental capacity of your executor
- Marriage and divorce
- Having children
- Sale or loss of an item that is being gifted
- The death or loss of mental capacity of one of your beneficiaries
- Moving, buying, or selling your home.
In fact, almost any change to your wealth or assets has the potential to invalidate your Will. Even something such small, such as not getting a signature from two witnesses could mean that your wishes are not followed upon death.
How do you know if a Will is valid?
When will you find out if you Will is invalid? Unfortunately, most people won’t. Invalid documents are most commonly discovered when they need to be used, upon your death. However, it’s not all bad news!
With a specialist later life advisor at Warners Estate Planning, you can get a free, no obligation Will review. It’s as simple as it sounds, we look at your documents, ask a few questions about your wishes and see if everything matches. We also look at the technical stuff like your witnesses’ signatures, executors’ details and check your trusts are correct.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve used a professional Will writing service or created it yourself, we want to make sure that when it’s time, your wishes are followed in full.
What to do if your Will is invalid?
Thankfully, there are still some options should you pass away and your documents are considered invalid. Your executor, family, friends, or solicitor could contest the ‘Rules of Intestacy’ (that’s the UK law which governs inheritance for someone without a Will). It’s not guaranteed that you will win, and at a difficult time, it is best avoid contesting where possible.
The Rules of Intestacy can be a good option if your Will is not valid, but what do they do? In short, they share your wealth and assets (collectively known as your estate) among your next of kin and close blood relatives. According to law, your next of kin could be a spouse (husband, wife, or civil partner only), children, and sometimes parents.
Your estate is not shared equally under the Rules of Intestacy. The person or people considered your next of kin are given the property you own and most of your wealth (up to £270,000). Following that, your close family are awarded a diminishing share of your wealth.
What happens now?
If you have your affairs in order but haven’t reviewed your documents in the last 12 months, please get a review. There are many services out there, including our own which is free and can be booked using the button below.
We hope that you don’t need to make any changes, but it can’t hurt to check, especially if you have written your own Will or your circumstances have changed. Protect your estate and future generations, your legacy is worth it!
About the Author
Jill Pullin is an expert Later Life advisor, specialising in equity release and is also Director of Warners Estate Planning, helping you with wills, power of attorney and protecting your estate for future generations.
These products are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and we are not authorised via PRIMIS Mortgage Network to advise on them