Will Wish List

Here are 10 good reasons why you might want to take time and have another look at your will.

If you are one of the six people in ten that have not made a Will yet, then it is time you did. If you are one of the four who have, do not relax completely. As your life and circumstances progress, you need to revisit your Will from time to time to ensure it still reflects your wishes.

A Will serves as a binding expression of how you want your assets distributed after your death. If that changes, and it often does, then your Will needs to change to reflect it.

Here are 10 reasons you should look at your will and make sure it will still do what you want it to do:


Marriage, for the first or for the nth time, cancels any existing Will, and the consequences will be as if you had died without making one. This is also true as same-sex marriage and registering a civil partnership. And if you then die before making a another Will, the rules in intestacy will apply. They are unlikely to reflect all your wishes.


Divorce does not cancel a Will. However, from the date of decree absolute, the effect is as if the newly divorces spouse had died. Any gift which benefits then is revoked and will pass to other beneficiaries or may become part of the residue of the estate. This may not be what you had intended.

There is one other possible consequence. ‘If you have appointed your ex as your executor, this clause will also be cancelled. This could leave you without an executor and this will add to the cost of the administration’.


The arrival of new children is a natural trigger for revisiting your Will and raise other issues. What would happen to them if both parents died? In the case of children under the age of 18, it is important to consider guardianship – choosing someone to take care of them in the event of your death.

You can also stipulate an age when your children can inherit. A child attains maturity at the age of 18. ‘But few parents would want their children to inherit at that age, particularly if it is a substantial some, also at that age they are just off to university if appropriate. So, in your Will, you can stipulate an age of 21, 25, 30 – or whatever you wish or a percentage to be released to them at given ages’.


Perhaps you have had grandchildren since making your Will and wish to make them a specific bequest. Or you could set up a trust for them, maybe to help with their education.


You may have received an inheritance, perhaps from your parents. Since this could affect any previous Inheritance Tax (IHT) planning of your own, you should look again at your Will.

Assets Change

You no longer own an asset identified in your Will, or you have acquired a new once since it was made. Their value may have changed. Perhaps your business is more profitable, necessitating IHT advice or a rebalancing of your estate.


A person named in your Will, an executor or beneficiary, has predeceased you. Depending on how your Will has been written, this could cause part of the Will to fail or mean your estate is not distributed according to your wishes.


In the past, if you left your ISAs to your spouse, they would get the assets but not the tax benefits. Following changes introduced by the HMRC, they can also now enjoy the tax benefits by retaining the ISA wrapper, so IHT planning must be advised to ensure maximum savings.

Deeds of Variation

Deeds of Variation are used to alter a Will within two years of a person’s death, and are a useful way to reduce IHT if a Will has not been properly drafted.

The Passage of Time

Even if no obvious trigger presents itself, you should review your Will at regular interval as a matter of course, in the light of changing circumstances and possible changes in the law.

The levels and bases of taxation, and reliefs from taxation, can change at any time and are generally dependent on individual circumstances. Will writing involves the referral to a service whereby this should be professionally drafted.

We have many years of drafting Wills, and should you need advice do not hesitate to contact us.