Updating A Will

Do you have a Will that requires updating?

If you have a Will that requires updating, ensure you consult a lawyer to change or revoke your will.  Even the simplest changes must be correctly done or they may have disastrous results.  You don’t want your loved ones to go through the stress of defending your Will.

If a relationship or marriage starts or ends, this may affect the validity of your will.  If you marry or re-marry in future, your will is automatically revoked by the marriage unless the will is expressed to be made in contemplation of that marriage.  Consult a lawyer about your will if you decide to marry.

Your Will is automatically revoked where a marriage is dissolved, but there are a few limited situations where dissolution of marriage will not revoke your Will (eg. if your Will is stated to continue in effect even if your marriage is dissolved).

If you make a Will in contemplation of marriage but you do not marry, then the Will may have no legal effect.

If your Will is made when you are in a de facto relationship and that relationship ends, the Will may not automatically end, although some recent cases suggest that a gift to a de facto spouse in a will has have no effect if the relationship later ends and the testator then dies without updating his or her Will.

At Macdonald Rudder Lawyers we recommend reviewing your will every five years or more frequently if a major event occurs in your family, or there is a significant change in your circumstances or that of your executor(s) or any of your beneficiaries.  In particular, we suggest you review your Will if any of the following significant events occurs:

  1. if you change your name, or anybody named in the will changes theirs;
  2. your place of domicile changes from Australia to another country;
  3. if you marry or divorce;
  4. if you enter into or end a de facto relationship;
  5. if you have children (including adopted or foster children);
  6. if you have specified any property in your Will which you subsequently sell or give away, or put in trust or into a partnership, or which changes its character.  This applies particularly to bequeathed shares in a company which restructures its share capital;
  7. you acquire assets overseas (this may need you to make a will in another country and change your Australian Will);
  8. if an executor dies or becomes unwilling or unable to act as executor or becomes unsuitable due to age, ill health or for any other reason;
  9. if a beneficiary (someone who has been left something in the Will) dies; or
  10. a significant beneficiary goes bankrupt.

If you wish to change your Will or revoke it or make a new Will without informing your husband or wife or de facto spouse you may do so (provided you have not contracted not to change your Will), but you should consult a lawyer, get in touch today.