30th March 2022
Review Your Will
Many people appreciate the importance of having a Will in place. The absence of one, or one that has not been correctly executed, can result in catastrophic consequences for bereaved families which could easily have been avoided.
It is important to remember that having a Will in place is only one step when it comes to lifetime planning. A Will must be reviewed regularly and amended if it is no longer achieving your desired outcome.
Research conducted by SFE (Solicitors for the Elderly) shows nearly half of people have not updated their Will for over five years. An outdated Will can lead to unnecessary stress for your loved ones and many beneficiaries missing out.
Below is a list of a number of scenarios which emphasise the importance of reviewing your Will and ensuring it is kept up-to-date.
Scenario 1 – New grandchildren
You created a Will years ago and left legacies to three grandchildren who have been named in your Will. However, since creating this Will, you have been blessed with additional grandchildren. Unfortunately, if your Will has not been updated, the grandchildren who have not been named in your Will will not be entitled to any inheritance.
Scenario 2 – Unsuitable executors
You may have appointed executors who have sadly predeceased you or may no longer be the best people for the job. Perhaps you have children who have grown up and are better suited. An executor has a very important role in dealing with the administration of your estate and you must ensure you have selected the right people who will carry out your wishes.
Scenario 3 – ‘Blended’ families
You and your partner may have children from previous relationships. In your Wills, you leave everything to your partner and then to your children and step-children in equal shares. While this may sound perfectly fine, it is important to remember that the surviving partner can amend their Will and leave everything to their own children, leaving your children with nothing. A solicitor can assist in advising you of alternative options available to avoid this situation from occurring and ensuring your children’s interests are protected.
Scenario 4 – Changes in your assets
You may have left a particular asset such as a valuable item of jewellery to a loved one. If you no longer have that item of jewellery, that gift will fail and your loved one will miss out.
Alternatively, you may have left large sums of money to family members and friends, with the residue of your estate to your spouse/partner. However, the value of your estate may have decreased significantly at the time of your death in comparison to the value at the time you wrote your Will. Therefore, your spouse/partner may end up with a lot less than you initially envisaged.
Scenario 5 – Will not executed correctly
You and your partner have been cohabiting for several years. You prepare a DIY Will where you leave your entire estate to your partner. Unfortunately, that Will was not witnessed correctly and therefore is rendered void. It will be deemed that there was no Will and you died intestate. Under the rules of intestacy, your family members including children, parents, siblings may inherit the estate leaving your partner with nothing.
Using a solicitor
The Law is constantly changing and arranging a meeting with your solicitor can ensure your Will is drafted in a way that not only achieves your desired outcomes but utilises available allowances to reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax payable. A solicitor will also be able to advise you of the legal formalities that must be complied with when signing your Will to ensure that it is valid.
It is therefore extremely important that you review your Will at least every five years and particularly when your circumstances have changed. A Will cannot be expected to always do the job you intended for it.
If any of these scenarios resonate with you or you have any concerns about your Will, please get in touch on 01892 510222, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. You have spent a lifetime building up your estate, let Buss Murton Law help you in making sure the right people inherit it.