It goes without saying that creating a valid Will is very important and should be done at the earliest opportune time.
Once you create your Will, its provisions are not cast in stone. Your Will can be updated from time to time to incorporate any changes in circumstances or major life events.
Before updating your Will, it is advisable that you consult your lawyer or trusted estate planner to ensure that you follow all the formal requirements prescribed in law.
When should I update my Will?
The Law of Succession Act in Kenya provides that a person can update their Will at any time as long as they are mentally competent to do so.
Proof that the amendments to a Will were made as a result of coercion, fraud or when a person was under the influence of drugs or alcohol may lead the amendments to be declared void.
Why should I update my Will?
A person should update their Will when there is a significant change in their personal or financial circumstances. Some common reasons for updating a Will include:
- Marriage or divorce;
- Birth or adoption of a child;
- Death of a beneficiary or executor of the Will;
- Change in assets or liabilities;
- Move to a different country; or
- Change of mind regarding distribution of assets.
It is important to regularly review and update your Will to ensure that your final wishes are accurately reflected and your assets are bequeathed as per your wishes and intentions.
What are the formal requirement of updating my Will?
The Law of Succession Act in Kenya provides that a person can update their Will by executing a codicil (a written amendment to the Will) or by making a new Will entirely.
The codicil should be signed in the same manner as the original Will, that is, it should be signed by the maker of the Will in the presence of two independent witnesses who should also attest that they saw the maker of the Will sign the codicil.
Similarly, a new Will must also be signed and witnessed in the presence of two independent witnesses and should clearly indicate that it revokes all previous Wills and codicils made by the maker of the Will.
What are the advantages of Updating my Will?
Some of the advantages of updating a Will include: –
- Reflects current wishes:
Updating a Will ensures that it reflects a person’s current wishes and intentions for the distribution of their assets.
- Avoids confusion:
An outdated Will can lead to confusion and disputes among beneficiaries. Updating a Will can avoid these issues by clearly outlining the maker’s final wishes.
- Protects beneficiaries:
Updating a Will can protect beneficiaries by ensuring that they receive their intended inheritance and minimize the chance of challenges or disputes.
- Accommodates changes in family or financial circumstances:
Changes in family dynamics or financial circumstances can be accommodated by updating a Will. This can help ensure that the maker’s assets are distributed according to their current intentions.
- Facilitates the probate process:
An up-to-date Will can facilitate the probate process and reduce the chance of challenges or delays in obtaining the grant and overall distribution of assets to the intended beneficiaries.
All in all, updating a will can provide peace of mind and ensure that a person’s final wishes are accurately reflected and carried out.
How can we help?
Gabael Trust Corporation Limited has established itself as a ‘go-to-firm’ that provides premier estate planning services in Kenya. We also provide value-added services such as advice on investment, tax and retirement that may be critical for your Will.
We have an excellent team of experts and strategic partners across the East African Region who are ready to meet your unique estate planning needs and we welcome you to take advantage of our excellent, professional and cost-effective services.
If you have any further questions, or would like to talk to someone about establishing a family trust, make an appointment with us or contact us through email@example.com.