When you originally wrote your Will, whether five or twenty five years ago, your life would have been different from what it is today. Perhaps others depended on you then more than they do now. Perhaps previously named beneficiaries have died or you have new additions to your family and new causes that you care about.
Keeping your Will up to date is essential. It is important that you review your Will every few years and if you have added a number of codicils (a codicil is a change or addition that you can make to your Will), it is advisable that you see your solicitor and rewrite your Will so there is no chance of confusion or misunderstanding. If you have yet to write your Will for the first time, you should attend to this as soon as possible as approximately 40% of people who die each year die without a Will – that is they die Intestate. The State Government then determines who will benefit from the estate according to strictly defined rules and in many instances it is not how the deceased had intended. For instance, in situations where you have no living relatives closer than cousins, your estate will go to the State Government.
Remember, your Will is probably the most important document you will ever sign. Only you know what you would like to happen to your estate and there must be no opportunity for misinterpretation in the wording and no omission of instructions for important funds such as your superannuation or business interests.