It’s good practice to regularly update your will. Perhaps you recently got married or had children, two things which can significantly alter your life and future planning. Changing your will to reflect this is smart, but it isn’t free. So, how much does it cost to alter a will in the UK?
Let’s take a look at why and how you can change a will as well as how much it will cost you to do so:
Can You Alter An Existing Will?
Yes. There are two ways you can make changes to an existing will:
- Write a new will – and then have the old one destroyed in order to revoke it. This is the ‘belt and braces’ approach, and is arguably more secure than option two as all of your wishes are contained in one document.
- Write a codicil to your existing will – a codicil is a new document including the small amendment to your will and is used in order to change some minor details.
When Should I Change My Will?
Many people write a will and then forget about it until it’s too late. It’s a sad fact that most people don’t update their will to reflect important changes in their life, later leaving their closest and most beloved friends and family members out of their final wishes.
It’s a good idea to consider how much to alter a will you’ve already written when an event like one of the following takes place:
- You get married or divorced
- You have a new child or grandchild
- A beneficiary or executor named in your will either dies or you decide to change them
- You move home
- Someone named in your Will, or your partner, passes away
- There is a material change to your financial position, making it sensible to update your Will.
How do I alter my will?
Altering a will doesn’t always involve making changes to the original document. You can add a codicil amendment (which is another signed and witnessed document) or you can choose to completely replace the will with a new one.
1) Write A Codicil
Codicils are usually quite short official documents that detail changes ranging from single words or names to entire sections of your will. Like the will itself, a codicil needs to be witnessed and signed.
A codicil lets you make small changes to an existing will. These are the kinds of things that can have a big effect but don’t require the whole will to be rewritten. Some examples might include:
- Altering how much a beneficiary receives
- Selecting a new executor or trustee
- Changing what you want to happen to your body after you have passed away
It is worth knowing that the whole reason that codicils were invented in the first place was to create a method by which a will could be altered without needing to rewrite the entire document (in an age where a pen and ink and several hours would probably be required to do this).
In the digital age, rewriting a will is a much shorter process. This means a codicil might be a good solution for a single change. If you want to make multiple small changes to a will though, it’s often easier to simply rewrite the Will even though this will be more expensive.
This is because having a pile of codicils to your will can make it difficult to interpret and can even risk different interpretations of your wishes being drawn or the codicils becoming detached from the Will and/or lost.
2) Rewrite Your Will
Writing a new will is often simpler and likely the best approach for all but the most limited single changes you want to make. Rewriting a will is much like writing your old one, but you also need to:
- Revoke – any older wills or codicils explicitly in the text of your new one.
- Destroy – your old will and any existing copies. You do not want multiple wills that conflict.
- Assess – whether you have multiple wills covering assets in different jurisdictions and whether your new will conflicts with other wills in different regions.
How Much Does It Cost To Alter A Will In The UK?
The amount it costs to alter a will in the UK is usually quite modest, but depends on the method you use to update it:
- A will solicitor – will almost always be the safest way to alter a will. It will usually cost between £50 and £100 to use a codicil to update your will using a solicitor whereas completely rewriting a Will will cost a few hundred pounds. Whilst some people baulk at the charges, remember you are paying someone for their expertise for advice to ensure that your wishes are adhered to on your passing, so the peace of mind this brings is invaluable.
- Will writing service – there are many will writing services that offer paid subscriptions with the ability to make changes to your will.
- Personally – you can write a codicil or new will yourself. But if there is any complexity, it is likely to be found invalid unless you have experience in relevant matters of law. For such an important document, it is well worth having it professionally drafted.
If you are in any doubt about altering your will, it’s always a good idea to discuss the costs and best way of doing so with an experienced will solicitor. Most will talk your situation over with you without charge and explain your options and your charges. You can then make an informed decision about what you would like to do.
Want To Find Just The Right Kind Of Legal Specialist To Chat About Making Changes To Your Will?
Let’s talk. Solicitors Near Me will find you the ideal friendly, approachable will solicitor for the task at hand.
Wills Solicitors Near Me