Recent research has found that almost half of wills in the UK might be significantly out of date, meaning it’s more important than ever to ensure yours is updated and meets the needs of your current situation.
A will that’s not updated could cause your loved one’s confusion after you pass away, and even result in costly legal battles or your assets and possessions not ending up where you’d like them to. Even if you’ve got a will in place, it’s essential to update it regularly to make sure it keeps up with your changing circumstances.
Read on to find out more about what the research found, and what you can do to make sure your will continues to express your wishes accurately and properly.
What did the research find?
The research, from SFE, a membership body which represents solicitors who specialise in working with older people, found that 47% of people in the UK who have a will, haven’t updated it for more than 5 years. It found that 33% of those people haven’t updated it for over 7 years, and 21% for more than 10 years.
Clearly, the fact that nearly half of people with a will have wills which are over 5 years old without being updated is a worry – for many, their circumstances may have changed over this time, including their assets or their requests. Some, especially those who haven’t updated their will for over a decade, may find that it’s essentially not fit for purpose and covers very few of their actual wishes.
The research also found that some people are relying on dangerously false assumptions about what will happen to their assets and possessions after they pass away.
For example, 54% of the people surveyed didn’t realise that the law will decide who inherits their estate using the rules of intestacy if there’s no will in place.
67% of people surveyed didn’t know that if you live together with a partner, but aren’t married or in a civil partnership, then you won’t automatically inherit each other’s estate.
Similarly, 66% of people didn’t realise that without a will in place their spouse won’t automatically inherit everything in their estate if it is over a value of £250,000.
So, there’s clearly a lot of people out there that overlook the importance of both putting a will in place and regularly reviewing it to ensure it is always up to date.
What should you do?
The advice from solicitors and estate planners is that you need to have a will in place that’s reviewed and updated at least every five years, or when a major change in your life or circumstances occurs. Without this, inheritance could be missed, or your loved ones could end up paying more inheritance tax than they need to.
To make sure your will is up to date, speak to Face to Face Estate Planning. Our team of experienced estate planners will take the time to sit down with you and go through your exact circumstances so you’ll get a will that accurately reflects your wishes.