How to change a Will…

You should review your Will at least every five years and after any major change in your life.

For example:

  • Having a child or grandchild
  • Moving house
  • Getting married or divorced

If you don’t, it can lead to complications and upset for your family. An example could be that your Will may refer to a house you no longer own, or mention older grandchildren but not younger ones.

You should also prepare a new Will if you marry, separate or divorce and also be aware of any changes to the law.

If you want to change a Will, you can either revoke (cancel) the old Will and make a new one or add a codicil to the original Will. A codicil is a supplement to the Will that makes amendments or additions and must be signed and witnessed in the same way as an original Will.

Codicils come from a time of word processors and the additional time required to retype a new Will. Changes in technology mean that most solicitors will advise you to revoke your original Will and just make a new one.

If you revoke a Will you should destroy it and state on the new one that it revokes all previous Wills. Your solicitor will advise you on how to do this properly.

If you marry, remarry or enter a civil partnership, this will usually revoke a previously existing Will. However, divorce does not automatically invalidate a Will made during the marriage, but will exclude your ex-spouse or civil partner from benefit if he or she is mentioned in the Will.

Please remember to store your Will safely, but not so safely that you forget where you have put it. It’s a good idea to lift it out every couple of years and have a read through it, asking yourself if any changes in your life mean you should think about updating it.

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