Changing your will

Money Advice Service

Wondering how to change a will? You’re not alone. Lots of people change their wills when they have children, grandchildren or when their financial situation changes. Depending on what sort of change you’re making, you should either add to your will or write a new one. This guide will help you decide and answers common questions such as “how to change a will”, “how much does it cost to change” and “what is a codicil”.

Do you need to change your will?

It’s a good idea to review your will every now and then to make sure it still says what you want it to say.

You should definitely review your will if:

  • Someone named in your will dies.
  • You have children or grandchildren. You might want to change who gets what.
  • You get married. Marriage revokes a will in England and Wales (but not Scotland).
  • You get divorced. Getting divorced doesn’t revoke a will, although in England and Wales your ex-husband/wife or civil partner wouldn’t benefit from it.

You shouldn’t alter the original will document.

If you would like to make significant changes to the will, then it might be better to write a new will.

If you do write a new will you can revoke the old one by destroying it.

You can make small changes to your will – such as changing the executors or adding a legacy – by using a document called a codicil (more on this below).

Using a codicil

What is a codicil?

A codicil is a straightforward document that needs to be signed and witnessed in the same way as a will.

It allows you to make amendments to an existing will instead of completely re-writing an already written version.

There are no rules about what you can change using a codicil – it could be anything from a single word to many different sections of your will.

But it’s a good idea to use codicils only for very small changes, because they can make sorting out your will more complicated when you die.

A codicil has to be signed and witnessed in the same way as your original will, but you don’t need to use the same witnesses.

Don’t use someone as a witness if they or their husband/wife or civil partner benefits from a gift in the codicil – it will make the gift to them (in the codicil) invalid.

Codicils: pros and cons

  • If you’re using a will writing service or a solicitor, adding a codicil is usually cheaper than writing a new will.
  • A codicil should be kept with your original will – codicils can get lost and raise questions over the original will.
  • If you’re changing several parts of your will, it’s usually better to write a new will.

Writing a new will

A single will, drawn up by a solicitor can cost between £100 and £200, depending on which part of the UK you live in and how complicated your situation is. If you get a quote make sure it includes VAT.

This is usually the best option, especially if you want to make anything more than very small changes.

It’s just like writing your will for the first time, but with a few extra things to look out for.

  • Make sure your new will clearly says that it revokes any older wills or codicils.
  • If you own assets in different parts of the world and have a corresponding will, make sure that your new will does not inadvertently revoke that other will.
  • Destroy your old will and any copies – either by tearing it up, shredding it or burning it. Otherwise two (or more) wills could be found and it might not be clear which one should be followed.
  • Tell your executor where your new will is kept so they can find it when the time comes.

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.

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Some important information about Rest Less Money

We want you to understand the positives, but also the limitations of using our site. We operate in a journalistic manner and therefore all information, guidance or suggestions provided are intended to be general in nature, and you should not rely on any of the information on the site in connection with the making of any financial decision.

When we set out to build Rest Less Money, we wanted to be a trusted place where you could find helpful information about financial matters affecting the over 50s. As a free to use resource, we try hard to provide the best information we can, but we cannot guarantee that we won’t occasionally make mistakes. So please note that you use the information on our site at your own risk, and we can’t accept liability if things go wrong.

Key things to remember when using Rest Less Money:

We do not offer financial advice – As a journalistic site, it’s important to know that we do not provide financial advice. You should always do your own research before choosing any financial product so that you can be certain it is right for you and your specific circumstances. If you are in any doubt, please seek professional financial advice from a regulated financial advisor.

No Liability – please note that you use the information on Rest Less Money at your own risk and we can’t accept liability for how you choose to use the information given on our site. We will often provide links to content or products and services available on other third-party websites. These are provided purely for your convenience and we cannot be held responsible for any content, or any of the products and services offered on any website that we link to.

 

Accuracy of Information – We try to make sure that all the information provided on Rest Less Money is correct at the time of publishing as we want it to be the most helpful resource possible. Sadly, we are not perfect however, and so we can make no guarantees as to the completeness, accuracy, adequacy or suitability of the information available on the site.
Whilst we work hard to try and provide accurate information, deals and prices can change, so whilst they may be correct at the time of writing, providers may subsequently decide to alter them later – so always double check first.

A final note on the Rest Less Community Forums – always remember that anyone can post their opinion on the Rest Less Community Forums, so it can be very different from our own opinion and may not be factual or well researched. Always be wary of any content posted on the forums and be sure to do your own research and due diligence on anything suggested. 

We hope you find Rest Less Money a useful resource and we would welcome your feedback at [email protected] on how to make it even better. For more information on any of the above you can read our full terms and conditions.

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