Thousands of people make changes to their will every single year, amending their post-death wishes to account for the constant changes that can occur in life.
Whether you’ve experienced a change in your financial situation or a new child has entered the family, there are multiple reasons why you may decide to make a change to your last will and testament – but how much does it cost to change your will, and how do you do it?
We’ll answer all your questions in this complete guide to changing a will.
Should you change your will?
Whether on a personal or professional level, your life is unlikely to remain the same over an extended period of time. Failing to regularly update your will alongside any significant changes in your life could have a detrimental impact on your loved ones and their inheritance when you die.
You may need to think about changing your will if:
- You have children or grandchildren who you would like to leave a gift to in your will.
- You get married and would still like another individual to receive inheritance when you die – remember, marriage revokes the terms of any wills that have been previously written.
- You get divorced and originally stated in your will that your entire estate would be left to your ex-spouse.
- One of your beneficiaries dies and you wish to ensure that their inheritance goes elsewhere, perhaps to their child, for example.
- You lose contact with a loved one and no longer wish for them to be included in your will.
Changing a will before death
Many people misunderstand the complexity of making changes to a will, assuming that it is as simple as noting down any amendments on a piece of paper – unfortunately, this is not the case.
Such is the complexity of changing a will, it is highly recommended that people write an entirely new will rather than make any significant changes to an existing one. This is because a will that has too many changes can cause confusion upon death, leaving loved ones unsure of what they are entitled to, and it could even become void, meaning that they would be left with nothing at all, despite your inheritance plans.
If you’re only making minor changes, however, a codicil can be used to confirm these small adjustments to your original will.’
What is a codicil?
A codicil is an additional piece of legal documentation which authorises any minor changes made to a will. Just like the original will, it needs to be signed, witnessed and stored in a safe location in order for it to be executed post-death.
The witnesses of a codicil do not need to be the same people who witnessed the original will, but they should not be anyone who is directly benefitting from the terms of the codicil (i.e. being named as a beneficiary). If somebody witnesses a will or codicil in which they are named as a beneficiary, their inheritance will not be granted during probate.
If the individual is named as a beneficiary in the original will and the terms of their inheritance is not being affected by the changes made, they can witness the codicil without their inheritance being deemed invalid.
How much does it cost to change your will?
Using a codicil to make slight changes to a will is usually cheaper than writing a new one, but the exact cost will vary depending on your individual circumstances.
The safest way to update a will is by writing a new one, and if you’re making changes which could have a significant impact on your loved one’s inheritance, we recommend that you spend a little bit extra to ensure that your exact wishes are carried out when you die.
You can write a new will for as little as £29.99 with Wills.Services – register with us today to see how our expert legal services could help secure your family’s future.
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Writing a new will online
Writing a new will is usually a much safer option than amending an existing one, particularly when it comes to making changes which impact the distribution of your estate.
There are regular cases in which people use cheap DIY will kits to save a bit of money, but due to the complexities surrounding wills, estate management and inheritance, the lack of professional guidance makes them a huge risk which could invalidate your will entirely.
There are a few reasons why you should consider writing a new will, including:
- Getting married or divorced
- Getting into a serious relationship in which you have no intention to marry
- Removing somebody from your will
- Adding somebody to your will
When writing a new will, you’ll go through the exact same process as you did with the old one – this will give you the opportunity to truly reflect on what has changed in your life and change your will accordingly.
Keep in mind that it is designed to replace the old one and not act alongside it. Do not leave anything (or anyone) out of your new will assuming that their inheritance is covered in the old one – you can only have one legal will in the UK at any given time.
Does a new will cancel an old will?
Yes. Your new will should be dated and you should state clearly that it was written with the intention of revoking a previously written will. Any copies of your old will should also be destroyed to avoid confusion when you pass away.
Will writing with Wills.Services
If your new will is not written correctly, it will not be valid in the eyes of the law and could put your loved ones and estate at risk.
To make sure that your family isn’t faced with the struggle of proving your wishes, it is important that you make sure the updated version of your will is legally binding.
Our digital application form allows you to make a will online with professional feedback from a trained legal expert. Once your will has been approved by our team, you will be sent a physical copy through the post for you to witness, sign and return for safe storage.
Let Wills.Services help you secure a stress-free future for your loved ones by clicking below to start writing your online will.
Article reviewed 21st September 2021