Is your Will out of date?
Do I need to update my Will?
Nearly half of all Wills in the UK are likely to be out of date, according to new research by Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE).
Lawyers advise that Wills should be updated at least every five years or when a major change in your life happens - like getting married or having a new baby.
Yet statistics from the SFE - an organisation of more than 1600 solicitors specialising in working with older and vulnerable people - show this just isn't happening:
- Almost half of those people who have a Will haven't reviewed it for more than five years;
- A third haven't updated it for more than seven years;
- A fifth haven't looked at it in more than a decade.
Why does updating your Will matter?
Dying with a valid Will in place because you didn't get round to making a new one after getting married for instance, means you are effectively 'dying intestate'.
As a result, your assets pass to your next of kin in a set, defined order and according to rigid rules which don't consider personal, individual or complex family circumstances.
This could mean missed inheritances, higher inheritance tax fees or someone potentially benefiting from your estate against your wishes.
When do I need to update my Will?
There are some key life changes that mean you should take another look at your Will and amend it as necessary. These include:
- Getting married again - only 16% of people in SFE's survey knew that re-marrying revokes an existing Will unless made in contemplation of marriage;
- Having children or grandchildren;
- Getting divorced;
- Buying a house;
- Moving in with a partner;
- If someone named in your Will dies before you;
- If the person you chose as a executor for your Will dies or is no longer suitable.
How do I update my Will?
It is not enough to simply make your own changes to an existing Will and then initial them - although 17% of people in the SFE survey thought it was.
The best way to ensure that your Will does what you want it to, avoids difficulties for your friends and family in the future and gives you peace of mind by putting you in control of the destination of your estate, is to have it checked over by a specialist solicitor.
Get in touch
Wards Solicitors' team of specialist Wills and Probate lawyers can:
- Check over and review your Will, including DIY Wills, free of charge;
- Advise you how to amend it if necessary to protect your wishes;
- Ensure your Will is as robust as possible, just in case it's challenged in the future;
- Explain wealth preservation steps you can take to minimise your liability for Inheritance Tax and maximise tax relief.