Do you need a new Will? – 6 Reasons Why You Might

Do you need a new Will? – 6 Reasons Why You Might

Wills, Estates and Succession Planning

“Change is the only constant in life”

Heraclitus c. 535 – c. 475 BC

Your circumstances are constantly changing, as are no doubt, your intentions. What impact do these changes have on decisions that you may have made earlier in your life, and formalised in a legal Will?

Individuals make Wills at certain points in their life – after purchasing their first home, after the birth of their first child, or once a divorce has been finalised. So what are the triggering events that should prompt you to review your existing Will and update its contents?

  • Marriage – Generally, a Will made whilst unmarried shall be revoked, i.e. cancelled, on the date of your subsequent marriage.
  • Divorce – In cases where a Will was made whilst married, but the relationship has ended in a formal divorce, you probably do not want your former spouse to inherit from your estate. Furthermore, in many jurisdictions any reference to your former spouse in the Will may be read as if the now-divorced spouse had died on the date of the divorce. This could significantly alter the distribution of your estate.
  • Children – Your children might not be very forgiving if they learn that you have made a Will and failed to name them – but this could be because the Will was made before they were born. If you have children, it would also be appropriate to include guardianship provisions in your Will outlining who would care for them in the event both parents die. 
  • New Assets – Depending on how your Will is drafted, you may need to add specific reference to your new assets to ensure they pass to your chosen beneficiaries in the event of your death.
  • New Country – A change in residence, domicile or the local legislation may require you to amend your Will – assets that were previously covered in your Will may not be covered anymore in the same document, you may need to consider taxation of your assets upon death or you may need to re-sign the documents in accordance with new legal formalities – this is particularly relevant in the UAE where there have been new developments in inheritance procedures, as well as in Europe with the introduction of the new Brussels regulation governing Succession of assets.
  • Religion – A change in religion may result in your existing Will being invalid. Again, this is especially important in a jurisdiction like the UAE where there is a clear distinction between the treatment of Muslims and Non-Muslims in the context of distribution of assets in the event of death.

Deciding whether or not your Will needs to be amended depends on a number of factors; it is advisable to seek specific legal advice from a licensed legal practitioner to ensure that the Will you have adequately represents your intentions, protects your assets and most importantly, your loved ones. Contact us for further information.