Wills: What happens if a will is not kept up to date?

Wills-742827-editedWhilst it is statistically accepted that many adults do not have a valid will, there is also a hidden statistic that many of those that have a will made it long ago, which means that it is now likely outdated. Having an out of date will can be as damaging as not having a will at all.

Socialite Tara Palmer-Tomkinson who died in early 2017 made a will which left everything to her children and while having children may have been something that she intended to do, she hadn’t had any at the time of her death. This meant that her bitter sweet bequest could not be honoured and instead, her parents inherited her wealth and assets.

In some cases, out of date wills have included those which name people who are no longer alive or people who no longer have a relationship with the person who wrote it.

As well as this, having an out of date will can also mean that available tax breaks may not be taken advantage of, which could result in more inheritance tax being owed than necessary.

Failing to update a will in light of changing family dynamics, for example the marriage of a child can mean that there is a chance that family monies can be dissipated in the occurrence of the breakdown of such a relationship. Therefore taking a fresh look at a will during big milestones in someone’s life can build in protective measures.

You could look at the pending litigation following the death of George Michael. Had he updated his will to include his partner, his partner would not be contemplating a claim against his estate. However the argument does go both ways as the family will undoubtedly say that he did not make any changes as he did not want him included.

In conclusion, although is it important to have a will, it is equally important to keep it under review throughout your lifetime to avoid your wealth and assets being given to people who were never intended to receive them.