A well written will is flexible and considers potential changes in your life. No will can anticipate everywhere your life will take you so it’s a good idea to review and/or update you will every five years or when a major event occurs in your life.
You may wish to review or update your will for many reasons:
- You get married, separated, divorced or remarried
- You move in with someone and are living common law
- Your spouse passes away
- You have a child or grandchild
- Your children reach the age of 18
- Your adult child becomes financially dependent on you
- You need to select a new guardian for minor children
- You have acquired or disposed of a significant new asset (such as a house or business)
- You move to another province or country
- You have changes in your financial circumstances
- You receive an inheritance
- You retire
- You become seriously ill or disabled
- One of your beneficiaries passes away
- Your need to change your executor or trustee
- You want to change how your estate is distributed
It’s important to note that wills are not automatically nullified upon divorce but they are automatically nullified upon marriage (unless the language clearly states the will was made in contemplation of marriage, naming your future spouse).
Updating your will does not mean you need a new will. You can attach a codicil that revokes certain paragraphs or clauses. The codicil must be signed, dated and witnessed. If you do prepare a new will, it’s a good idea to destroy all previous wills.