The Importance of Updating Your Will: When, Why and How

couple looking at paperwork

Understanding the Need for Updating a Will

At RV Legal, we understand that creating a Will is a significant step in securing your legacy and protecting your loved ones. However, just as life evolves, so too should your will. Updating a will is a crucial aspect of estate planning that ensures your intentions are accurately reflected as your circumstances change.

When Should You Update Your Will?

Life Changes Prompting a Will Update

In Victoria, as in the rest of Australia, certain life events necessitate re-evaluating your Will. These include:

  • Marriage or divorce, as these events can automatically alter the validity of your existing Will.
  • Birth of a child or grandchild, to include them as beneficiaries.
  • Death of a beneficiary or executor, requiring adjustments to your Will.
  • Significant changes in your financial situation, like acquiring or selling major assets.
  • Relocation, especially if moving interstate or abroad, due to varying legal requirements.

How Often Do You Have to Update Your Will?

There’s no set rule for how often you should update your Will. However, we recommend reviewing it every three to five years or after any major life event.

Why is Updating Your Will Crucial?

Reflecting Your Current Wishes

Over time, your relationships, assets, and priorities can change. Updating your Will ensures that it accurately reflects your current wishes and provides for your loved ones as intended.

Legal Compliance

Regular updates help ensure your will complies with current laws and legislation in Victoria. Non-compliance can lead to disputes and legal challenges, potentially undermining your final wishes.

How Do You Update Your Will?

Seeking Legal Advice

While you might consider updating your Will yourself, consulting with legal professionals like RV Legal is advisable. We ensure that your updates are legally sound and reflect your intentions without ambiguity.

The Process of Updating

To update your Will, you can either make a codicil (a document that amends, rather than replaces, a will) or create a new Will. The latter is often recommended, especially if the changes are substantial.

Can I Change My Will Myself?

DIY Changes: Caution Advised

While it’s possible to change your Will yourself, it’s fraught with risks. In Victoria, for your Will to be valid, it must be:

  • In writing.
  • Signed by you and two witnesses, who are not beneficiaries.

Improperly made changes can invalidate your Will or create confusion and disputes among your beneficiaries.

The Role of Legal Professionals

A legal professional can guide you through the intricacies of updating your will, ensuring all legal requirements are met. This includes advice on tax implications, asset protection, and avoiding potential disputes.

The Peace of Mind in Updating Your Will

Regularly updating your Will is more than a legal formality; it’s about ensuring peace of mind for both you and your loved ones. At RV Legal, we are committed to helping you navigate the complexities of estate planning. By keeping your Will up-to-date, you ensure that your legacy is preserved and your final wishes are honoured exactly as you intend.