Why keep a Will up to date?


Written By Emma Lowe

According to a recent report from Quilter, 57% of people are still without a Will and other sources suggest this figure may in fact be slightly higher.

Of those that do have a Will, 53% have not updated it in the last 5 years with a further 14% having never updated it at all.

So why should clients keep their Will up to date?

If your clients already have a will it’s important to review it to ensure that it remains valid. Changes to their personal life, financial position or even the law can often mean that changing a Will is necessary in order to guarantee that it best reflects all wishes. Key aspects to consider that may be a catalyst for review are;

  • Changes in relationships – marriage or divorce
  • Changes in Beneficiaries or Executors circumstances
  • Additional children or grandchildren
  • Retirement
  • Changes in Assets
  • Changes in the law or tax rules

So how might this play out in reality?

Case Law Example – The Monahan Family

This is an interesting case where a mother made a will in 2015 after her divorce leaving her £305,000 estate split equally between her 3 sons now aged 29, 25 and 17 years old.

Her new partner moved in with her in 2018 after she was diagnosed with cancer and they subsequently married 7 months later.

This made her Will invalid and her sons were subsequently entitled to approx. £9,000 each rather than the expected £100,000 each. this is because intestacy rules direct the first £270k of the estate is to go to the spouse and also half of the surplus over this figure, the remainder to children. The result? The £305,000 estate is now subject to a legal dispute unless the husband and sons can reach a settlement.

Under English law, marriage automatically revokes a Will unless the Will was made ‘in expectation of marriage’ This means that if you have a Will in place and then get married, your previous will is no longer valid unless you specifically stated within the Will your intention to get married.

So if clients already have a Will, perhaps they’d like to check that it still suits their circumstances and that it is even still valid?

If you're uncertain if your clients Will is still fit for purpose, call us on 01522 500823 or email enquiries@btwc.co.uk and we can work with you to make sure they have what they need.

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