Research reveals almost half of current Wills could be out of date - Palmers Solicitors

Research reveals almost half of current Wills could be out of date

Research reveals almost half of current Wills could be out of date

According to new research from Association of Lifetime Lawyers (SFE), 47 per cent of individuals who have a Will have not updated it in the last five years.

The SFE has said that this may mean that nearly half of Wills in the UK are likely to be out of date, which could lead to significant legal issues and conflict when a person dies.

The research from the SFE also showed that nearly half of the people interviewed didn’t know that the intestacy rules would decide who inherits their assets if they died without a valid Will in place.

That included a third of couples living together who didn’t know that without a marriage or civil partnership they won’t inherit each other’s assets.

Tim Steele, a Director with Palmers Solicitors, who specialises in Wills, explained: “Technically, once a Will is written it could last forever. However, certain circumstances could change the validity or relevance of a Will, which means that you should update it.

“In England and Wales, when you get married any previous Will automatically become void, unless it makes a specific reference to the marriage.

“If you don’t update an existing Will or create a new one after getting married it will mean that the law of intestacy will decide who inherits your estate after you die.

“This means that a large proportion of it may go to your surviving spouse and may lead to any children from a previous relationship being disinherited or receiving a smaller proportion of your estate.”

Another common reason for updating a Will is the birth of a child or grandchildren. Tim continued: “A new arrival may mean you will likely want to include them within your Will and provide them with an inheritance.

“In the case of your own children, you may also want to spell out who would care for them and act as their legal guardian in the event of your death.

“Last but not least, in the event that a named beneficiary or executor predeceases you, it is important to revisit the Will to ensure that your instructions are clear and up to date.”

It is recommended that a Will is reviewed and updated every five years, or after major life events.

According to the SFE, nearly a third of people with a Will have had significant changes to their lives and circumstances since they drafted or last updated it.

If you need help reviewing and updating a Will, please get in touch with our expert team.