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Change Your Will When You Change Your Home

Published on 28 February 2016 | Modified on 14 December 2022

Written by Stacey Bennett
estate administration

We understand that when you are purchasing a property, there is a great deal to consider. According to research, moving home can be one of life’s most stressful events, so thinking about what will happen to your home once you’ve passed away will not be high on the priority list. However, updating your Will once you have purchased a property is just as important as your property purchase itself.

The only way to have full control over your estate is by having an up to date Will. Without one, decisions are made by the government as to who will receive what. Your feelings at this stage will not be taken into consideration. A harsh reality for something you have more than likely spent a large proportion of your life investing in.

It’s also equally important to update your Will once you have written one. In fact, the Government recommend that you review your Will every five years.

So why is it so important to update a Will?

As one of the most important purchases you make in a lifetime, your property will become a lifelong commitment and something you invest in throughout your life.

Without updating your Will once you have purchased a property, this could lead to complications for your loved ones. Ensuring your Will is accurate and up to date will help to protect them at a time they’ll need protecting most.

A home is much more than just property, so when you pass away, you will want to ensure that it’s left in the hands of the absolute correct people.

How you have held the property when you purchased it will also have an impact on how it is dealt with. There are two options for holding a property when buying with another person. They are:

Beneficial joint tenants: Should either of you pass away, the surviving partner will inherit the other partner’s share of the property, whether you have a Will or not.

Tenants in common: The surviving partner does not automatically inherit the other person’s share, which can be left to someone else if an up to date Will is not in place.

You would have been advised of these options before going ahead and purchasing your property.

How can I update my Will?

If you already have a Will written, which has been signed and witnessed, you are likely to be aware that you can no longer amend it. The only way you can make amendments to your Will is by making an official alteration called a codicil.

Similar to when you first made your Will, you must get your codicil signed and witnessed. The great thing about making an official alteration to your Will is that there are no limits to how many codicils you can add. If you do purchase a new property you will need to make an official alteration to your Will.

What if I don’t have a Will at the moment?

Recent studies have shown that around a third of adults do not have a Will, and shockingly a third of us will die intestate. (When you pass away without leaving a valid Will for your loved ones to organise your estate.)

Without a Will, decisions will be made based on the rules of intestacy. As mentioned this could lead to your estate being inherited usually by married or civil partners, and then close relatives dependant on these set of rules.

The amount your partner and close relatives each receive is also based on intestacy rules, and a partner will only inherit under these rules if you are married or in a civil partnership at your time of passing. The rules of intestacy will also apply if a Will is made and is not legally valid. One rule of intestacy that may surprise you is that without a Will if you have no blood relatives your estate may get passed to the Government.

Writing a Will with Poole Alcock

Writing a Will undoubtedly provides clarity and avoids any unnecessary distress for your loved ones, at what will already be a difficult time. Once you have written your Will, you can take comfort in knowing that they are taken care of.

Here at Poole Alcock, not only do we ensure the purchase of your property runs smoothly with a swift and efficient service from our dedicated team of lawyers.

We also have a team committed to ensuring that whatever stage of life you have reached, through careful planning, you can be reassured that your wishes will be respected should you pass away. Our team can also advise you on updating your Will once you have purchased a new or additional property.

For more information on making a new Will or updating your existing Will, contact Charles Smalley, head of wills and probate law at Poole Alcock.

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