Is Your Will Updated?
If you have written your Will, congratulations! But, when was the last time you took it out and reviewed its’ content? If your answer is NEVER like many people, chances are that your Will may not be updated to reflect your current financial position and latest wishes.
Some of the problems caused by not having an updated Will are:-
1. Unsuitable executor – Without reviewing the content of the Will, one may forget who he has appointed as the executor for his Will. In other cases, the executor may have migrated to another country. It is also possible that the appointed person may not be a suitable candidate anymore due to various circumstances. For example, the appointed executor may become bankrupt and is no longer fit for the position.
2. Unsuitable guardian – You may not discover that the guardian appointed by you is no longer suitable or capable to act when he/she is needed. As life changes, the person you have appointed as the guardian for your children may not be the best candidate anymore.
3. Distribution not according to your latest wishes – As we move on in life, our assets also change (hopefully it will change to become more rather than less). Without rewriting your Will, it is hard to ensure that your estate will be distributed according to your latest wishes.
4. The Will becomes invalid – According to Section 12 of the Wills Act 1959, your Will is automatically revoked upon marriage. For example, the Will signed by you when you are single will be revoked and become invalid the moment you are married. Without rewriting your Will, you may think that your current Will is still workable and expect your estate to be distributed according to it. This is, of course, a misconception. Another circumstance that will revoke your Will is when a non-Muslim converts to Islam.
1. Regular review – Make it a habit to review the content of your Will once a year.
2. Review by events – If you don’t think that you will have the discipline to review your Will on a regular basis, you must at least review your Will under the following events:-
a. Marital status change – The changes could be either from single to married, married to divorced or a case of remarrying.
b. Financial status change – The significant financial changes may be starting a new business, winning the lottery, selling or listing your business, committing huge liabilities, buying new properties and others.
c. Executor status changes – Your appointed executor may fail to act because of death, incapacity, migration to another country or even ‘change of heart’ in that he becomes unwilling to act.
d. Guardian status changes – Your appointed guardian may fail to act because of death, incapacity, migration to another country or even change of heart in that he becomes unwilling to act.
e. Beneficiary status changes – You need to review your distribution when one of the beneficiaries predeceases you or becomes bankrupt.
f. Change of heart – You need to review when you want to change your executor, guardian or beneficiaries.
g. Addition of child/children – The addition could be in the form of birth or adoption.
h. Setting up a trust fund – When you plan to set up a trust fund, you will need to review your Will to see how you can distribute your wealth in an integrated manner.
i. Legislative changes – When there is a change in distribution law or imposition of estate duty, it is important that you review your Will.