Making a will - Changing a Will

Your will comes into effect only on your death. So you can change it at any time by making another or by amending it. However, if you marry, any will you made before the marriage is normally void. If you do not make a new one, your estate is divided up as if you had made no will. This provision can particularly affect widows or widowers who remarry. If they make no new will, the new husband or wife will inherit all their possessions and probably most of their money under the intestacy rules, which are described below.

So if you want to ensure that your friends or even your children do get your share of things, you should make a new will once you are married. (See Chapters 9 and 6 for information on tax and widows. Information about social security for widows can be found at

Your heirs can also have the terms of your will rearranged if some other arrangement would be to the advantage of all of them, for example to minimize inheritance tax or to keep a property intact. To do that they must act within two years of the death and all the beneficiaries of the will have to agree. A new document, called a deed of family arrangement, is then signed by all parties. A family who wants to make such a deed should definitely consult a solicitor.

More information

Making a will - Executors What You Own

The next step is to write down what you own with approximate values. You may be surprised at what it amounts to. You can get an estimate of the value of your personal possessions from the insurance policy for your house contents. Make sure that you include the value of any life insurance policies and, of course, the value of your home after any mortgage has been redeemed. If you are married, remember that much of your property is jointly owned and that only half the value is yours.
Who Inherits?
Normally it is a straightforward matter to decide who inherits your property. You make a few special dispositions of small items to named people � grandchildren, perhaps, or friends � and then leave the balance of your estate . . . ... see: Making a will - Executors What You Own