The importance of formalising your estate plan

The importance of formalising your estate plan

Drafting an estate plan (usually a will) can seem like a morbid part of reaching later life, but it is an essential part of planning ahead at any age and should be considered when life-altering circumstances affect the legality and execution of the will.

As life evolves, so do your personal circumstances, relationships, and assets, be they financial or physical. Regularly updating your estate plan is crucial to ensure that your final wishes align with your current situation. 

In this post, we will guide you through the process of updating your will, providing valuable insights and practical tips for ensuring your will can withstand the legal process after you’re gone.


Assessing your current will

Reviewing your existing will allows you to determine what values you currently hold and how your legacy can continue to support those after you’re gone.

When assessing your will, make note of the key provisions, the individuals named as beneficiaries, executors, and guardians. Furthermore, ensure that the possessions attributed will accurately reflect your current belongings, assets, and circumstances. If they do not, then it is time to update.


Updating your outdated will

In the UK, the only way to update your will once it is signed and officiated is to apply an additional request called a codicil. There are no limits to the number of times you can change your will by using this service and it provides you a clearer input into your will. 

Key life events can have an impact on your will and governmental law officials recommend making the changes when:

  • There are changes in family dynamics: accounting for births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths.
  • There are changes in financial status: adjusting for debts or increased wealth is important to ensure all benefactors receive their designated share.
  • Additional contributions must be made (such as funeral expenses, charities, or housing cover). 

By updating your will, you remove any distressing uncertainties in the matters of your estate after you die, and ensure that the living benefactors are aware of any final wishes.


Safely storing your final testament

Once you have updated your will, guaranteeing its safety is important as it is increasingly common that these crucial final documents can be lost, damaged, or accidentally discarded while the writer is living, or, especially, once the writer has died. 

Before you enter your will into storage, you must inform key parties about the updates that have been made. This includes notifying family members that have been excluded or included, executors, and other relevant individuals about the changes made.

To fully safeguard your updated will, you must keep a copy in safe security, either with the solicitor you drafted the document with or in personal safe storage. With the improvement of digital security, an online copy can also be stored for convenience.

However you decide to store your will, you must provide additional access to trusted individuals to ensure that your will’s whereabouts remain known, especially for those who may enter long-term care.

An hour glass in front leather books


Legal assistance for your will

By understanding the legal requirements for writing, updating, and securing your estate plan, you ensure that your family, friends, and additional individuals you’ve included within your will are able to gain the benefits you have bestowed after you die.

The safest way to ensure your will is suitable for legal processing is to collaborate with legal professionals. Seeking guidance from a family law attorney who can secure your will and probate ensures compliance with local laws and regulations, providing you peace of mind at every stage of life.

At Peter Ross, we provide comprehensive and clear guidance on the creation and adjustments of wills that ensures your final wishes are respected, your loved ones are taken care of, and your lasting legacy reflects your values and desires. 

If you need support in creating a will or updating a will, then get in touch with our team today.

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