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Wills, Probate & Trust

Why should I review my will?

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Sam and Phillip have just discovered they are pregnant with their first child. Everything is about to change for them, and they will have a lot to consider. While prams and nappies will be top of the list, they should also take this opportunity to review their Will to ensure their new son or daughter are provided for and that the estate passes as they would want.

The first matter to consider is whether their child stands to inherit anything in accordance with the terms of their current Will. It is not unusual when writing a Will to make provision for potential children, even if an individual is not pregnant at the time of preparing a Will but first consideration for Sam and Phillip is to check to ensure their child is provided for.

If potential children are included, it is important to consider at what age they should inherit. The assumption, if no age is stated within a Will, is that an individual should inherit at the age of 18 and money will be held on their behalf on trust until they attain that age. Sam and Phil may want to consider if this age is suitable and consider increasing this age to ensure funds are safeguarded until their child is older.

As stated, until the child attains the age set in the Will then the funds will be held on trust for the child by the trustees of the Will. Unless otherwise stated, the trustees of the Will are usually the named executor. When looking after funds for the benefit of a minor, there must be two trustees and so if only one executor is named in the Will, then that executor will have free rein to name whoever they feel appropriate. It is best to name both executors and trustees in this instance to ensure the people you want to appoint are the people taking control.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Sam and Phillip may want to consider appropriate guardianship provisions to state who, in the unfortunate event of the death of both of them, they would like to look after their child. While the appointment does not grant the named individual Parental Responsibility, it makes it clear who Sam and Phillip wish to name as their children’s guardian. It is a good basis for those named individuals to apply to court for a guardianship order if appropriate.

If you are expecting or simply did not have time to consider the above prior to the birth of your little one, feel free to get in touch with the team here at Samuel Phillips Law who would be more than happy to have a discussion with you to review your existing Will to ensure it is fit for purpose. You can contact us via 0191 232 8451 or email admin@samuelphillips.co.uk.

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