Research highlights risks of out of date wills

New research has found that a third of over-50s in the UK have failed to update their wills to take account of major changes in their family or financial circumstances.

The findings of a survey of more than 8,000 over-50s by Saga found that 34 percent of those questioned had not updated their will to take into account significant changes in their circumstances – such as becoming grandparents or moving house – and the same percentage had never updated their will.

Only 14 percent reviewed their will at least every two to three years, as is recommended, and 44 percent every three to five years. Saga warned that bequests in a person’s will could fail to reflect their true wishes if their circumstances changed and their will was not updated.

It cited an example of someone who chose to leave their property to their children and a small amount of cash to a charity. If that person downsized at a later date, moving from a large and valuable family home to a small flat, and failed to update their will, the children would only inherit the flat and the charity a very substantial sum from the sale of the family home.

While it is important to make a will, it is just as vital that it is reviewed every two to three years to ensure it keeps pace with a person’s changing circumstances.

An up-to-date will helps ensure that a person’s estate is distributed in accordance with their wishes and reduces the stress and complexity faced by their family when dealing with the estate at a difficult and upsetting time.

For more information on making and revising a will, please visit our website or contact one of our fee earners.