Millions at risk with out of date Wills
Millions of people are running the risk of their wishes not being carried out when they die because they have out of date wills which do not reflect their current circumstances.
Katy Burgin of Norrie Waite & Slater Solicitors, says that people need to update their wills whenever they undergo a substantial change in personal or financial circumstances. Examples of changes which would require a will to be updated are:
- Divorce or separation
- Having children
- Buying or selling a large asset such as a house
“The dangers of an out of date will are many”, says Katy. “A good example is when someone separates from a spouse, but is not yet divorced. Generally the spouse will be the main beneficiary of that person’s estate should they die during the separation. In that case the assets would go to the estranged spouse, when the person may have wanted them to go to the children or their new partner”.
Research carried out for the Law Society showed that 22% of people over 65 did not even know if they had an up to date will, while 42% of those widowed, divorced or separated also didn’t know.
“You should have your will checked regularly to see if it still reflects your circumstances and avoid the potential pitfalls of it being out of date” says Katy.
Of course, having a will in the first place is the only way of ensuring that your assets go to those you wish. If you die without a will your estate is distributed according to the laws of intestacy which set out statutory rules which leave a person’s estate to their next of kin in a fixed order. This may result in people you would not choose inheriting from you, or in the worst case scenario, your estate going to the Crown.
Katy says “Some people are put off going to a solicitor to make a will because they think it will be expensive. This is not the case as most wills are done on a fixed fee basis and are surprisingly affordable. We can even offer home visits within the Sheffield area.”
Katy also offers advice on Lasting Powers of Attorney, Probate and related private client services. She can be contacted at Norrie Waite & Slater Solicitors on 0114 276 6166.
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