When and why should you amend a will?

An up to date will is essential for making the transition of your passing bearable for those around you. By amending your will through a codicil you can save your family and friends any potential disputes after your passing.

will writing week

The importance of creating a will 

Despite it being the only way to make sure your wishes are carried out after your death, there is still a significant portion of our population in the UK without one. In the UK around 59% of adults don’t have a will and a total of 5.4 million are unaware of how to create one. The importance of creating a will is that you have the ability to control exactly where your possessions go. Creating a will is truly the only way to protect your estate in its entirety when you pass.

This is why we want to raise awareness and understanding of wills

By raising awareness we can impart our knowledge to some of those 5.4 million adults and strive to increase both awareness and understanding of the importance of a will. 

Specific amounts and items cannot be controlled unless documented by a will. For those with a will in place, the process is simple and lets you share the inheritance with family, friends or even those you wish to inherit some of your assets.

Those who die without a will leave their assets to the rules of intestacy. Intestacy is a complex process that leaves all possessions to only close family members and partners. 

Rules of intestacy complicate inheritance 

The worst-case scenario for those without a will starts the process of intestacy. This is a list of people who have no right to inherit without a will:

  • Unmarried partners 
  • Lesbian or gay partners (not in a civil partnership) 
  • Carers 
  • Close friends 
  • Those related by marriage

By law, your assets cannot be passed onto these figures without a documented will. If you die with no surviving family members The Crown will claim your estate, this is known as a bona vacantia.

Other important benefits of having a will 

For those with kids or pets they love. A will gives you the choice to decide where you want them to go where you die. If your child is a minor you can nominate a guardian so you can have peace of mind when you pass that they are safe without you there. Similarly, you can name a beneficiary for your pet. In both circumstances, you can leave funds behind to aid them with the future care of your pet or child.

You can also support your favourite charities by leaving behind a monetary donation or passing belongings on too. This allows you to support your favourite causes even past your death.

Perhaps the biggest area that having a will affects is reducing any future family disputes. Your will is legally final and prevents disagreements about what assets are given to who.

Amending your will

Any time a major personal event occurs we recommend changing your will or considering doing so. A reliable timeframe is to have your will reviewed at least once every five years. 

Without amending your will through a codicil you could miss out on leaving significant portions of your estate or assets. Additionally, you may find who you wish to inherit your estate may change throughout your life. Therefore it is invaluable to keep your will updated through the use of a codicil.

What is a codicil?

If you already have a will then this is relevant to you. So what is a codicil? In simple terms, it is a document that allows you to alter the outcome of your will. Without having to create a whole new will, you can have a codicil made to supplement your original will. Without a codicil, a new will would have to be created in its entirety.

Why choose a codicil?

Codicils consequently are typically cheaper than having to write a new will. In spite of this, the document is still fully legally binding.

How we can help you create a will

You can speak to a member of our staff on 020 8891 6141. Through them, you can create your first will or change your current will.

You can find more information on our expert private client team, they have the specialist knowledge to give you the first-class legal service you need. Through their services, we aim to reduce your inheritance tax and present solutions to any concerns you have surrounding your will. So don’t hesitate to get in contact with SRB today.