5 key reasons to review your Will


5 key reasons to review your Will

We all know the importance of making a Will. So, once you have made your Will, is that the end of the matter? Generally, no. You need to review your Will at certain times because, for most people, financial and personal circumstances change, and some changes of those changes may mean that the terms of your Will now produce unwanted or unintended outcomes. In this blog, we look at 5 key changes in your life that should prompt you to review your Will (and any other estate planning documents you have).

5 key changes that trigger the need to revisit your Will

  1. Marriage;
  2. Separation or divorce;
  3. Changes related to your beneficiaries (for example, the death of a beneficiary);
  4. Changes related to your executors (for example, the death of an executor);
  5. Changes to your financial circumstances.

Marriage revokes a Will

If you are planning on getting married, be aware that marriage will revoke a Will you have made unless the Will is made in contemplation of your marriage.

If you are planning on marrying, you should carefully consider who you owe a moral duty to provide for on your death. If you are planning on going on your honeymoon and would like to have your affairs in order, you can make a new Will in contemplation of your marriage. With all the hype and preparation of your wedding day, you can easily miss your estate planning. 

Separation or divorce considerations when reviewing your Will

Although a divorce does not revoke a Will in its entirety, it will revoke the clauses that appoint a former spouse as executor or trustee.

Divorce will also revoke the clauses that name the former spouse as a beneficiary. It is, therefore, important to consider who you would trust to be appointed the executor of your Will. You should also consider appointing a substitute executor in the event that your instituted executor predeceases you or is unable or unwilling to act as executor. This is an opportunity to consider who you should make provision for from your estate.

If you separate from your domestic partner, then there is an even greater need to review your current Will, as there is no legislative provision that will revoke benefits or gifts you have made in a Will in favour of your former partner.

So, if you’re in a de facto relationship and you separate, and your partner is an executor or beneficiary in your Will, you should engage a lawyer immediately to have your Will updated.

Speak with an estate planning lawyer today: 03 9014 1299

When to review beneficiaries named in your Will

If any of the beneficiaries you have named in your Will have died, you should consider whether you have made provision for their children (if they had any) and whether you prefer their share of your estate to be gifted to others.

Consider whether any of your named beneficiaries are in greater need of financial assistance than others. Consider also whether any of your named beneficiaries have become vulnerable beneficiaries either due to, for example, a disability or addiction and who are unable to manage their inheritance on their own.

Vulnerable beneficiaries may need their inheritance to be protected by way of a testamentary trust with an appropriate person or trustee company to be appointed in the Will. This will ensure that the welfare, accommodation, and financial needs of vulnerable beneficiaries are adequately met.

When to review executors appointed in your Will

Your view about the executors you have appointed in your current Will may have changed due to the following:

  • They have died or have lost capacity;
  • You have lost confidence in them;
  • They have retired from their profession as lawyers or accountants and may not wish to accept the responsibility and duty of executors;
  • They no longer reside in Australia;
  • They lack the business acumen as your estate has expanded and become more complex; and
  • There is conflict or tension between the appointed executor and named beneficiaries.

The above circumstances may require a change to the executorship clauses of your Will.  In some cases, a suitable appointment of executor can ensure a smoother administration of your estate when you die, and indeed, it may avoid costly litigation, which can significantly reduce the size of your estate.

Financial circumstances that may trigger a need to review your Will

If your financial circumstances have changed, you may need to revisit your Will.

If you have received an inheritance, you may wish to update the legacies and gifts made in your Will. Conversely, if you have sold or transferred property to a loved one, you should consider whether you have specifically gifted that property to a beneficiary in your Will. If you are not well and need more funds to meet your care needs, you may wish to reconsider pecuniary gifts made in your will.  

Get help from an estate planning lawyer

If any of the circumstances described in this article apply to you, it may well be time to update your Will. David Davis & Associates are well placed to take you through a review of your Will and estate planning needs.

Contact David Davis Lawyers

Phone: 03 9014 1299

Share this page...