When do you know it is time to review your Will?

Did you know that our society is getting more open to writing Will? Why? All the publicity in the media about family feud regarding inheritance as well as difficulties encountered by survivors due to intestacy is beginning to sink into people’s mind. You may say that the problems or issues arise due to death of a person without Will (Intestacy). It need not be so as conflicts can result from changes in the personal circumstances of the deceased which were not addressed in the Will.

For the few people I spoke to who had done their Wills, majority of them do not recall what they had provided for in the Will or for that matter DIY by copying from some sample Wills. If you are one of those who belong to this category and had done a Will more than a year ago, there is a high possibility that your Will may not be updated due to changes in your circumstances or needs.

There are many situations where you need to re-write your Will, below are some of the common ones:-

  1. Changes in marital status – A valid marriage or remarriage automatically revoke a Will written prior to marriage. Need to review whether objectives have changed in the event of divorce or separation from your spouse.
  2. Changes in financial status – Significant change in your assets may affect distribution to beneficiaries from residuary estate. An increase in liabilities or debts may result in potential liquidity problem to your estate.
  3. Changes in Executor or Guardian status – A Guardian can cease to act because of death, incapacity, unsound mind, deterioration of health, unwilling to act, migration to another country, change of religion, judicial separation or divorce in the case of joint Guardians who are married to each other.
  4. Changes in beneficiary status – Need to change proportion for distribution when a beneficiary predecease testator or becomes bankrupt. Change in bequest to one or more beneficiaries named in the Will is desired.

Similar to your annual health screening, your Will has to be reviewed on a periodical basis, especially if it was written more than a year ago. The possibilities are high that if left unchanged, it might result in unnecessary difficulties on your survivors when you pass on.

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