When To Update Your Will

Once you have created your Will, you might be tempted to put it away and not think of it again. Everything will have been drawn up exactly as you wanted it to be when you wrote it, with your assets going to your chosen beneficiaries.

However, things can change, and your wishes and circumstances may alter after a few years. So, how often should you review and update your Will?

Reasons to Update Your Will

There are countless reasons to change your Will, and you can update it for any reason that you choose; however, if you are unclear on why you may want to, some reasons could be:

  • Marriage – if you get married, any Will made before this is automatically invalidated in England and Wales (but not in Scotland). So, make sure to amend your Will to make sure your chosen beneficiaries will still stand to benefit.
  • Divorce – after a divorce, check over your Will to ensure that your wishes are still the same. Divorce does not automatically revoke your Will, but there is a risk that your estate could be treated as if you did not have a Will at all. Your estate will be subject to intestacy rules and may be divided in ways that you did not want to happen.
  • Moving house – if you have bought or sold your property, you may need to update your Will to reflect this.
  • Moving country – if you move outside of the UK, you will likely need a new Will specific to your new country of residence.
  • Your named executor passes away – if your executor passes away, you will need to select another one or consider employing a professional executor.
  • A named beneficiary passes away – if a person chosen as one of your beneficiaries passes away before you, review your Will and consider to whom you will leave the gift.
  • New children or grandchildren – you may want to update your Will to include a new child or grandchild as a beneficiary.
  • New assets – if you buy a new asset that you want to leave as a gift after you pass away, be sure to amend your Will to include it.
  • Selling assets – if you sell something that you have left as a gift in your Will, you must update your Will to reflect this.

Even if you have no significant changes that you want to make to your Will, it is good practice to routinely review the document – around every five years is a good benchmark to aim for. 

That said, if you wrote your Will before 2017, it is advisable to review it now. Changes to the Inheritance Tax law mean that couples can now pass on up to £1m of their estate tax-free, or £500,000 for each person. This considers the increase of the residence nil rate band (RNRB), which has increased from £100,000 in 2017-18 to £175,000, so taking these changes into account, you may want to revise your Will to ensure that you are making the most of your tax-free allowance.

Changing Your Will

Your current Will remains valid until you revoke it, either by destroying it or creating a new Will from scratch. However, you can also amend your Will using a codicil, which allows you to make minor alterations to your wishes.

A codicil is an independent document used to make straightforward alterations to your Will, and it may not be revoked if you revoke your Will entirely. They are suitable if you want to add a new beneficiary or executor, change a gift, or make other minor alterations. There is no limit to the changes that you can make to your Will with codicils; however, for large changes, such as moving to another country, it may be more efficient to create an entirely new Will and revoke your old one.

Many people prefer to write a new Will rather than update their old one. Creating an entirely new Will can minimise the number of mistakes and make it far easier for your executors to administer your estate.

Writing a New Will

If you choose to write a new Will rather than making amendments with codicils, make sure that you clearly state that your new Will revokes all other Wills that you may have written. It may also be beneficial to destroy the additional copies of your previous Wills to reduce confusion.

Let your executor know that you have created a new Will and store it securely for the future. A good option is to store it with a Will writing service as it costs less than using a solicitor, and you can get a copy of your Will to keep at home as well.

Forgetting to Change Your Will

If you forget to update or revise your Will, it can lead to unintended consequences for your loved ones. An outdated Will may not provide for your chosen beneficiaries the way you intended if your Will is not up to date. If you do not update your Will for a long time, some people could argue that it does not reflect your wishes after you pass away. This may be grounds for your Will to be contested. However, reviewing your Will regularly makes this point harder to prove.

Your beneficiaries may also choose to apply for a deed of variation if your Will does not include specific people, such as a new grandchild. Deeds of variation can take a long time to be processed and may incur a fee if your family decides to use a solicitor. Ensuring that your Will is as up-to-date as possible can help avoid this and secure your family’s future.


Updating your Will is an integral part of later life planning. Even if you have a Will, your wishes, family, and financial situation may have changed, and your Will may no longer reflect your current wishes or assets.

Whether you want to create a new Will or amend your old one with codicils, The Planning Bee is here to help. Contact us today to learn more about our bespoke Will writing services. Our expert paralegals can help you to update and craft your Will to take care of your family in the future.

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