Your will is an important document that, if drafted effectively, distributes your assets in accordance with your wishes.

In addition to regularly reviewing your will every 3 to 5 years, there are certain events that should trigger the review of your will.

Relationship change

When you marry your current will is automatically revoked. While it is possible to make a will in contemplation of marriage, the vast majority of wills are not drafted to include this.

Similarly, when you divorce, any gift to an ex-spouse becomes invalid. This can have a significant effect on your estate planning and in some circumstances result in partial intestacy.

Family change

A significant change in your family structure is also a crucial time to review your will.

A significant family change might include having children for the first time, having more children or finding yourself in a blended family as a result of a marriage or long term relationship.

When you have children for the first time, it is important that you redraft your will and ensure that you have appointed a guardian. A guardian is responsible for making decisions on the maintenance and care of your minor children.

You should also update your will when you have children to ensure that all children not only receive a share of the estate but that they will be adequately provided, protected from wasting their inheritance and third parties that may seek to take advantage of them.

Asset changes

Asset changes include things like buying or selling property or other significant assets. These transactions can have a significant effect on your estate planning.

In order to ensure that these assets pass in accordance with your wishes, you should review your estate planning documents to ensure that these assets are appropriately dealt with in order to ensure that they pass to your intended beneficiaries.

Not all assets automatically pass in accordance with your will. For example, if you have purchased property as joint tenants with another person, on the death of one of you, the property will automatically pass to the surviving person, irrespective of what your intentions were.

Changing your mind about a gift

You may simply change your mind about the persons you intend to leave assets to in your will. Although it may be tempting to simply draw a line through the gift, this can raise significant issues not only in terms of the validity of the amendment, but also in relation to the will itself.

Where you change your mind about the contents in your will, it is important to ensure that you execute either a new will or an appropriately drafted codicil to your will

Contact us to review your estate planning

Reviewing your estate planning need not be a complicated or a daunting process. If you would like to arrange a complementary review meeting with Canberra’s leading estate planning lawyers, please contact our reception on 02 6215 9100.