‘Will’ you make a New Year’s resolution?

3rd January 2017

Have you made a will? If so, how long is it since you read it over and considered if it needs updating? Sometimes an old will can be as unhelpful as having no will at all, especially if it no longer fits your family circumstances or your wishes.

Rebecca Taylor, wills and probate lawyer at Ansons Solicitors in Staffordshire suggests that perhaps this new year, one of your New Year’s resolutions should be to make or update your will and put your affairs in order.

Free wills review service

At Ansons Solicitors, we recommend you regularly review your will at least every 4-5 years or sooner if the personal circumstances of you or your main beneficiaries have changed.

To help you decide whether your will needs updating we are offering a free 30 minute will review service. As part of this service you can bring your will into the office and we can talk through it with you to see if it still achieves your desired outcome.

We also particularly recommend that home-made wills are reviewed by a specialist wills and probate solicitor to ensure that the terms of your will are as you intended.

Register your will with ‘Certainty’

Another benefit of using Ansons Solicitors is that we are members of the Certainty National Will Register. We can register your will with Certainty to make it easier for your family to locate your will after your death.

Free will storage facility

Once you have made your will, you should keep it in a safe place. At Ansons Solicitors we can store your will in our secure facility for free, keeping it safe from damage, fire and tampering.

Here are Rebecca’s top 10 tips for checking if your will needs updating:

  1. Your name and address. If you have moved house since your will was made, it may be more difficult for your loved ones to locate your will. Check that your new address has been updated on your will.
  2. Have your personal circumstances changed since you made your will? For example, if you have married or divorced since making your will, then your old will may have been revoked and no longer be valid. You and your new spouse should make a new will.
  3. Names and addresses of your executors and trustees. Are their details up to date? If they have they moved out of the area or their circumstances changed, they may not the ideal people to be appointed.
  4. Names and addresses of guardians appointed to look after your minor children. If you have children and not considered this, your will is a good place to set out your wishes.
  5. If you have left any specific gifts of your personal effects, have you sold any of them or already given them away? If so, then the gift in your will is going to fail and there will be no automatic replacement gift, so you need to include an alternative gift, if appropriate.
  6. Have you included everyone you would like to as a beneficiary? For example, have you had more children or grandchildren since you made your will?
  7. If you are not including all of your children, do you have a statement accompanying your will explaining why you have left your estate in the way you have and your connection to your chosen beneficiaries? This is important if it is likely there are going to be disgruntled beneficiaries who are prepared to challenge your will.
  8. Have you included substitutionary clauses to cover if any of your beneficiaries die before you? If not, this may cause what is called a partial intestacy which means that your estate may not pass to who you intend.
  9. Is your will correctly signed and witnessed? If not, then your will is invalid and this will mean your estate will be dealt with under the intestacy rules which, again, means that your estate may not pass to who you intend.
  10. Where is your will stored? If it is at home, is it stored in something fire proof? Or, perhaps you store your will at solicitors or the bank. If so, are you paying and annual fee for that storage? If so, please bear in mind that Ansons Solicitors do not charge for storing Wills.

To make a will or book your free 30 minute will review, contact Rebecca Taylor at Ansons Solicitors in Cannock and Lichfield on 01543 267193 or email