Updating your Will is vitally important to ensure it continues to reflect your wishes and current circumstances. This week, during a conversation on Loose Women, Katie Price admitted that she had not updated her Will since she was married to Peter Andre. Since then, she has been married twice more, and had two more children.
She is likely to have moved house and many other changes may have occurred.Katie believes that as she has not updated it, her ex-husband will inherit her entire estate. In reality, this is not likely to be the case, as marriage revokes any earlier Wills, and she has had two marriages since then. The likelihood is, her now husband Kieran will inherit most, if not all of her estate.
As Katie will not have a valid Will in place, if she was pass away before updating this, she will be considered to have died intestate and the rules of intestacy will apply. At the time of writing this, intestacy laws would mean Kieran is set to inherit the first £250,000 of her estate, and then half of whatever is left, with the other half being split equally between her five children.
If Katie was to be worth less than £250,000 her husband would inherit her entire estate and her children would receive nothing. As Kieran is only the Father to her two youngest children, her oldest three children may never inherit any of their mothers’ estate, even when he passes away. Should Kieran remarry, and not write his Will, what is left of Katie’s estate would pass to Kieran’s new wife, instead of her children. This is most commonly referred to as sideways disinheritance.
What is even more concerning, is that Katie has not made accurate provision for naming Guardians for her children. If both Katie and Kieran were to pass away together, it is unlikely her five children would stay together due to having different fathers. The youngest two children would be considered orphans, and may end up in foster care. Katie should also give special consideration to the welfare of her eldest child who suffers from a disability. Without an accurate and valid Will in place, there is no provision made for him and his ongoing care/needs.
Katie’s story highlights the importance of updating your will, as your circumstances change.
Times when you should consider updating your Will:
Moving house – it is advisable to always live at the address listed in your Will – so if you move house, remember to update your address in your Will.
After marriage – Marriage invalidates any previous Will unless it was written in view of the marriage taking place. If this is not the case, once you are back from your honeymoon, it’s time to update your Will. We discuss this in more detail in a earlier blog.
When someone dies – If someone named in your Will passes away, it is good to update it. If they are named as your only executor, your Will would fail as you have no one named to carry out your wishes. If they are named as a guardian for your children, or a trustee you should choose someone to fill this role in their place. If they are a beneficiary, you may want to consider who will now get their share.
When your children reach 18 – As your children are no longer minors, they will not need guardians any more. You should update your Will to remove the named guardians and check everything else written in your Will is still accurate.
If you become separated – If you separate from your husband/wife, you need to update your Will. If you don’t, then whatever is written in your Will still happens. This could mean your estranged spouse will inherit your entire estate. If you don’t want this to happen, it’s time to act.
If you get divorced – Divorce does not revoke a Will like a marriage does. It is important to update your Will to ensure your wishes are reflected accurately following this change in relationship status. If your spouse is named as your only executor, the Will fails, and you will be considered to have died intestate and your estate would be distributed according to the laws of intestacy. You can read more on separation and divorce here.
When you have children – If you make a will before you have children, you will need to update it once you have a child. You will need to consider who you wish to appoint as guardians, in case you should pass away whilst they are still a minor. This is a really important decision to make. If you don’t appoint guardians in your Will, your child/children will become what is known as “wards of the court” and the courts will decide who raises them. This may be someone that you dislike, or could even be a total stranger.
A change in your finances – Inheriting a sum of money, a property, or an increase in investments may mean your estate is now liable to inheritance tax. It may be necessary to update your Will to reduce your tax liabilities in ways that were not necessary before.
Even if none of the above is relevant, you should check and review your Will every 3-5 years to ensure it still accurately reflects your wishes. You may have fallen out with a relative that you now wish to exclude, or perhaps accumulated objects of high monetary or sentimental value that you wish to pass on to a particular loved one. Do not just assume that what you wanted to happen at the time of writing your Will is still accurate several years later.
Review it and check, and if it still reflects your wishes, you can put it back and review it again at a later date. If your circumstances have changed, by keeping your Will up to date you can ensure that your wishes are still being met.
Contact us today to request your free will review, or to speak to one of the team about updating your Will.