Quick and Easy Way to Change a Will
24 April 2015
About 60% of people in the UK between 40-59 do not have a Will.
Co-op Legal Services offer fixed fee Wills from £75+VAT (£90).
With so many ‘write your own Will’ packages available from online stores, and solicitors, legal organisations and even insurance companies telling us it’s a good idea, the message still appears to be falling on deaf ears. So let’s start with the proviso that, despite the statistics, getting a Will sorted out is actually a really good idea. And once you’ve got it all done and dusted, it’s all sorted, right?
Well, maybe not.
Because while you may have a roadmap of how your life is going to progress from this point onwards, even the best-laid plans can go awry. Events such as getting married, getting divorced, having kids or just having an argument with a former best friend can mean that your carefully constructed Will is now completely out of date. So there are reasons why you may want to change your Will, but there are also questions to consider before you do.
Why Change Your Will?
Most people change their Will when they have children or grandchildren, and want to leave them a legacy when they’re gone. Other reasons for changing a Will include:
- A change in financial circumstances (particularly if you come into a large amount of money)
- Marriage (in England a marriage revokes the clauses of a previous Will, so you will need to make a new Will after your wedding)
- Divorce (while the act of getting divorced doesn’t revoke a Will, in England and Wales it does mean that an ex-partner may not be able to benefit from an existing Will)
- Someone named in the Will dies before you.
Reasons NOT to Change Your Will
Family conflict can often be a trigger that causes people to change their Will in haste. But before you storm down to your local Will writing service and demand that your solicitor or legal representative immediately cuts someone out of the Will, take a moment to consider if that’s how you really want to respond to what may be simply a passing disagreement.
Also think about whether the resulting conflict after you’ve gone would cause your loved ones even more grief. Contesting a Will can be a stressful affair for loved ones who are already grieving. So consider your motivation carefully before you act, and if you’re still unsure then talk to your solicitor in confidence to look at your options in more detail.
How to Change a Will?
If you want to make a minor change to a Will you don’t necessarily have to draw up a completely new document. You can use what is known as a codicil, which is an amendment to an existing Will. However, if you do use codicils then keep them for very small changes only, and not wholesale alterations as to who’s in or who’s out. Codicils have to be very specific and can cause complications if not drafted correctly.
The easiest and safest way to change a Will is to draw up a completely new Will. While you can technically do this yourself, using a professional Will writing service means that your Will has been properly constructed, is basically watertight and will be a clear and definite representation of your wishes. It is crucial, however, to ensure that any pre-existing Wills are then destroyed, and that the new Will states quite clearly that it revokes any older Wills or codicils. This is to avoid any confusion after you’ve gone.
How Much Does a Will Cost?
The cost of making a Will is far less than the cost to your family of not making one, or creating one that could be on shaky legal ground because it hasn’t been checked by an expert. Writing a Will using a proper Will writing service should cost you around £125+VAT (£150).
So for the sake of a small initial outlay you can ensure that you’ve got peace of mind that all your affairs are in order. Plus, once you have made your initial Will with Co-op Legal Services, if you need to update it later on, they’ll prepare a new Will for you to sign incorporating those changes. Therefore you’ll benefit from getting a new Will even though you may have only paid a small fee to amend it – the costs for updating your Will start from as little as £50 +VAT (£60). That’s less than most people spend on a family day out to a theme park.