Research has revealed that almost half of people living in the South of England who have a will haven’t updated it for more than five years, meaning nearly half of wills made in the region are likely to be out-of-date. Of those, over a third haven’t been updated for over 7 years, and over a fifth haven’t been updated in more than a decade.
Having an up-to-date and well drafted will is crucial in ensuring your wishes are carried out in the way you’d like when you die.
This year, solicitors specialising in working with older and vulnerable people, have launched “Update Your Will Week” in a bid to raise awareness of the importance of updating your will regularly.
Gaby Hardwicke’s will specialists recommend that a will be reviewed and updated every five years, or when a major change in your life occurs that impacts you or your loved ones, such as divorce, marriage, a new birth or even death in the family.
Antony Caulfield warns that an unchecked and outdated will could cause severe implications for your loved ones after death – including missed inheritances and higher inheritance tax fees: “Many people assume that once you have drafted a will you don’t ever have to review it, and that your wishes will be carried out as you wish them to be posthumously – but unfortunately, that’s far from true.”
Richard Ostle adds: “If you remarry, for example, your will gets revoked. Or if you marry into a family and have stepchildren that you’d like to inherit your assets – this won’t happen automatically unless you stipulate it in a new will. All these details are crucial to avoid family disputes – which we know can be very distressing for your loved ones.”
The findings have also revealed that 53% of people in the South of England don’t have a will in place at all – a worryingly steep figure. Cara Grant has highlighted that one in ten British families have been caught out by a ‘bad will’ – a will that is out of date or badly drafted – for example missing out on inheritance or their childhood home being sold without their knowledge. “It’s great to see that many people living in the south of England have a will in place – but we need to see a higher will uptake, and for those that have a will in place, it’s paramount that they review these frequently.
James Mountford sums it up: “I’d strongly recommend that people in our area speak to one of us to check that what they have in place still works, and if there’s nothing in place we can help address that.”
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