Latest research by Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) revealed that almost half of all people living in the UK who have a will haven’t updated it in more than five years, meaning almost half of all wills are likely to be out of date. This week is “Update Your Will Week” (28th March – 3rd April) launched by SFE to raise awareness around the importance of regularly updating your will.
Morr & Co are supporting SFE’s “Update Your Will Week” campaign because we believe that having an up to date and well drafted will is crucial in ensuring your wishes are carried out in the way you hope. Natalie Payne, Senior Associate in our Private Client team explores why reviewing your will regularly is important.
How often should your will be reviewed?
We recommend that a will should be reviewed and updated every five years, or when there has been a major change in your life that impacts your family and loved ones – this can include divorce, inheritance marriage, a birth, or death in the family.
Why should you update your will?
Having an outdated will can cause serious implications after you pass away, this can include missed loved ones and higher inheritance tax (IHT) being paid. It is a common misconception that in the absence of a will your estate is automatically inherited by your surviving spouse or civil partner. This is not the case as if you have children as they may inherit as well if your sole net estate is worth more than £270,000 and entering into a marriage or civil partnership automatically revokes any existing Will you have.
If you die without a valid will (also known as dying interstate) it could leave your family and others with considerable work to do at a difficult and uncertain time for them. It will also mean that your estate will almost certainly not be distributed in the way that you might want and that a proportion of the estate you have worked so hard to build will be dissipated needlessly in tax or legal fees, instead of benefitting loved ones and good causes.
Facts about updating your will
SFE have carried out extensive research around the UK on will writing misconceptions and found the following:
- Only 16% of brits realise that remarrying invalidates a will.
- Less than a third (31%) of people realise stepchildren won’t be included in your will unless you stipulate that separately.
- 17% of people wrongly think you can update your will by making changes on the original document and initialling them.
- 53% of the UK don’t have a will in place at all!
These are just some of the misconceptions surrounding writing and updating wills which we would like to change. If you have any questions surrounding writing or updating your will please contact one of our private client solicitors who will be able to assist, giving you absolute confidence that you have control over your estate and what happens to it after your death, thus providing much-needed peace of mind for you and your family.
Contact a member of our wills, trusts and probate team here.