Updating a Will - FAQs

When should I update my Will?

As a general guide, you should revisit your Will every 5-7 years and update your Will if:

  • your financial circumstances change
  • your family circumstances change, for example, if you marry, start a new relationship, divorce, separate, or have children or grandchildren
  • a beneficiary in your current Will dies
  • an executor or trustee appointed under your current Will dies or becomes unsuitable to act due to age or ill-health
  • you sell or give away assets that are specifically mentioned in your Will
  • you buy or inherit significant assets
  • you begin to hold assets that your Will cannot deal with, such as a superannuation or a trust
How do I update my Will?

There are two options – a codicil or writing a new Will. A codicil is recommended for small changes, like adding a charity into your Will, while writing a new Will is preferable for more wholesale changes. For detailed guidance on updating your Will, visit here.

What is a codicil?

A codicil is a document that allows you to make minor amends to a Will. Codicils are useful for making small changes, like adding a gift to charity in your Will, and save you the trouble of having to write a new Will.

As a guide, you could use a codicil to make one of the following changes:

  • Changing the value or recipient of a gift (including charities)
  • Appointing a new executor, trustee or guardian
  • Altering funeral plans

If you’re planning to make more than one of these changes at once, it’s recommended that you make a new Will rather than use a codicil so that your amends are properly understood.

How much does it cost to change a Will?

Changing a Will using a codicil through a solicitor will usually cost between £30 and £70, but it is worth paying this fee rather than completing the codicil yourself as there is an inherent risk that it might be lost or ignored if not filed correctly. Once a codicil has been written, it’s best practice to let your executor know that this change has been made and where you will store the document.

Can a Will be changed after death?

A Will can be changed up to two years after a person has passed away. For this to happen, all beneficiaries left worse off by the changes need to agree.

It’s often thought that a declaration or deed of variation is needed to make changes to a Will after someone has died, but you don’t need to be this formal. A simple letter (still known as a variation) will do in most cases.