Research commissioned by Solicitors For the Elderly (SFE) has revealed that over half (51%) of people living in the Midlands who have a will haven't updated it for more than five years, meaning nearly half of wills made in the area are likely to be out-of-date. Of those, over a third (35%) haven’t updated it for over 7 years, and over a fifth (22%) haven't dusted it off 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.
We 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. SFE’s research has revealed that almost a third (31%) of people in the midlands with a will have had significant changes to their lives and circumstances since they drafted it.
An unchecked and outdated will could cause severe implications for your loved ones after death – including missed inheritances and higher inheritance tax fees: “Many people assume that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.
“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.”
In fact, SFE’s research revealed that:
● 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.
The findings have also revealed that 54% of people in the Midlands don’t have a will in place at all – a worryingly steep figure.One in ten British families (11%) have been caught out by a ‘bad will’ – a will that is out of date or badly drafted – for example missing out on inheritance or their childhood home being sold without their knowledge.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 Midlands 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.
If you would like to review your will, call our team today on 01827 317070