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When should you review your will?

As a general guide we advise clients to review their wills as a matter of course every 5 years but there are some life-changing events which should prompt anyone to bring a possible change to the top of his or her agenda and they are:- getting married or divorced, having children, the death of one of your beneficiaries or an executor or guardian, a substantial financial change – for example a business sale or similar, and more common perhaps, moving house.

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Greek holiday homes

If you are an executor dealing with a holiday home in Greece the likelihood is that the estate might want to keep it, especially given the dire state of the Greek economy.  In theory, Greek law is amenable to implementing the wishes of a foreign testator but, as with most foreign countries, the best advice is to get a will done in Greece dealing specifically with a Greek holiday home similar assets located in the country.

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Divorce – does it cancel my will?

Unlike marriage a divorce does not cancel an existing will.  An existing will remains valid except that any gift to your former husband or wife takes effect as if he or she had died on the date of the decree absolute.  The usual effect of this is that the gift will fall into the residue for the benefit of the residuary beneficiaries.  If the former spouse had been left everything then the practical effect of this is that you will be intestate as far as the residue is concerned.  If you had appointed your ex as an executor, the will is still valid but takes effect as if he or she had died on the date of the decree absolute.  For these reasons it is obvious that, although divorce does not cancel a will, it can seriously mess it up so the advice has to be: make a new will as soon as you know that your marriage is on the rocks.

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Being an executor – not so boring!

I noticed recently that there is a new novel out by Blake Morrison – wait for it – “The Executor”. According to the blurb he has created a biting portrait of competitive male friendship, sexual obsession and the fragile transactions of married life.  The book innovatively interweaves poetry and prose to form a gripping literary detective story.

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Getting married – don’t forget to make a will

We once had a case where a client, knowing that he had a terminal diagnosis, decided to get married to his long term partner thinking that would mean she would inherit his whole estate. He already had a will leaving everything to her. Unfortunately he did not tell us of his plans and he omitted to make a new will with rather unfortunate consequences because the law of intestacy then applied.

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