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Hunters Law
2nd November 2023

When should I review my Will?

When should I review my Will?

We usually advise clients to review their Will every five years or so, or alternatively following a significant life event/change in circumstances.

The reason why reviewing your Will every five years or so is important - even if your circumstances haven’t significantly changed - is because the law of succession and tax is always evolving, and some of the changes may mean that it would be beneficial for your Will to be updated.

The need to review your Will is important if your circumstances have changed because the change in circumstance can result in your Will no longer reflecting your wishes.

Examples of significant life events/changes in circumstance which should lead you to reviewing your Will may include: 

Family additions

Should you have new additions to your family you may wish to ensure they are sufficiently provided for in your Will. 

Whilst it is usually recommended to try and make provision for future children/grandchildren when you first put a Will in place, it may be the case that a new addition to the family has different needs to your other children/grandchildren. 

Depending on the circumstances, a Will trust might be beneficial, for example a disabled persons trust or an 18-25 trust in (which both have certain inheritance tax (IHT) advantages). 

In any event, it is often the case that individuals only wish to leave their estate to children when they reach the age of 21 or 25, but if this is not set out clearly in your Will they would ordinarily become absolutely entitled at the rather tender age of 18.

Furthermore, we strongly recommend that your Will should make provision for whom you would like to have parental responsibility for your minor children (known as legal guardians) should both parents die before they reach the age of 18. If not, it will be up to the court to decide who should become legal guardians or your minor children may even end up in care.

Property changes

You may have purchased a new property since writing your Will. You may now jointly own a property with a partner or spouse and want to ensure that on your passing your share in the property passes as you would like it to.

It is important to consider how your property is owned with your spouse/partner and if you would like it to automatically pass to them on your death (which would be the case if it is held as beneficial joint tenants) or pass in line with the wishes in your Will (which would be the case if it is held as tenants-in-common).

If, for example, you have children from a previous marriage, you may wish to leave your share in the matrimonial home to your current spouse on life interest trust (which would give your surviving spouse the absolute right to live there whilst they are alive but protect the underlying capital for your children).

Marriage and divorce

By law, marrying or entering into a civil partnership will automatically revoke your Will (unless your Will is made in contemplation of an impending marriage, and this is made clear in your Will). If you don’t execute a new Will, your estate would pass under the rules of intestacy. This may result in your spouse, or anyone else you would like to benefit from your estate, not being provided for in accordance with your wishes. 

Following divorce, your ex-spouse is treated to have predeceased you for the purposes of your Will. Therefore, you may wish to reconsider the division of your estate following the removal of your ex-spouse from your Will.


If you separate from a partner that you were not married to or in a civil partnership with then provision for your ex-partner will not automatically be removed from your Will. Therefore, if you no longer wish to provide for your ex-partner you may wish to consider updating your Will.

Executor circumstances

Your executors’ circumstances may have changed since you first wrote your Will and they may no longer be an appropriate individual to administer your estate in accordance with your wishes. For example, they may be suffering from an illness or now be elderly/infirm.

Inheritance/change in asset base

If you receive an inheritance, you should consider reviewing your Will to check it still mirrors your wishes. For example, if you have left certain cash gifts in your Will you may wish to change the amounts if your estate has increased significantly in size.

Separately, if your asset base changes it may mean that certain IHT reliefs which were not previously available might now be so. For example, if you decide to go into business your business may be eligible for IHT relief. 

Sometimes it may be preferable for business assets to pass onto trust under your Will rather than to a beneficiary outright. This might be the case if the business passes to a surviving spouse outright, only to be sold and for the resulting proceeds to then increase the size of the survivor’s estate for IHT purposes.