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When should I update my will?

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When should I update my will?
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When should I update my will?
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Reviewed: 
October 31, 2019
Answer

It's a good idea to review your will every few years to see if it needs to be updated because of changes to your situation or wishes.

For example, it's very important to review your will if:

  • you go through a major life event, such as you:
    • get married
    • get separated or get a divorce
    • start a common-law relationship
    • become a parent
  • there are big changes in your financial situation
  • your estate trustee's situation has changed or they've died
  • you want to add or remove beneficiaries

Review your will to make sure it still says what you want to happen when you die. And make sure it takes into account the property and debts you now have. If it doesn't, you should update your will.

Writing directly on your will after it's been signed does not change your will. The only way to update a will is by:

A codicil is a separate legal document that's made the same way as a will. A codicil is usually made when you have small changes to your will. For example, if you want to add or remove a beneficiary. Or, if you want to change the amount of a legacy.

You can change or update your will at any time, as long as you're mentally capable. Being mentally capable means that you understand:

  • why you're making a will
  • how much property you have
  • which of your dependants should be included as beneficiaries

Your will can be challenged if you make it when you're not mentally capable or if you don't include dependants in your will.

Get legal help

It's a good idea to talk to an estates lawyer if you're thinking about changing your will or making a new one. They can explain when you need to make a new will and what can happen if you don't.

If you have a large or complicated estate, it might also be a good idea to talk to a financial advisor as well as an estates lawyer.

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