Everybody should have a Will; it’s the only guidance the law will have after you’re gone as to how your estate should be divided up. Failing to make one can result in your loved ones receiving less than you wanted them to, due to losses to third parties and government authorities. These are losses that are easily avoidable with the right planning; making a Will and getting your wishes down on paper is the best way to ensure what’s rightfully yours goes to the right people.
However, it’s important to remember that once you’ve made your Will, it’s vital to ensure it’s kept updated. Failing to update your Will can result in dire consequences later. Let’s take a look at a scenario in which failing to update a Will leads to difficulties.
Imagine a couple- let’s call them John and Julie- decide to make a Will. They are a couple in their late thirties. They make Mirror Wills; that is, they specify that everything should be left to the surviving spouse upon the first death. They then state that, upon the second death, the estate should be divided equally between their two children, Peter and Hannah. They name Peter, their eldest child at 18, as their executor; this means that he will be in charge of dividing up the estate, handling probate and other responsibilities that will apply following the deaths of John and Julie.
So, Julie and John have created their Will. They are happy with the terms set out within it, and can now relax, safe in the knowledge they have made their wishes clear; but what happens if their circumstances change?
A New Birth
A few years go by, and John and Julie are thrilled to discover they will be having another child. Nine months pass and John and Julie have a baby girl, Eve. With so much to do with the new arrival in the house, the last thought in John and Julie’s mind is to update their Will to add Eve as a beneficiary. John and Julie could have accidentally written their own daughter out of their Will.
A New Purchase
Julie, having saved her wages for years, finally has enough money for her dream car. She splashes out and treats herself, and promises Hannah she’ll pass it on to her one day. Julie doesn’t consider for a moment that this highly valuable asset is worth mentioning in her Will; especially if she wants to pass it down to Hannah specifically.
A Falling Out
When John is in his sixties, he has an argument with Peter. The argument gets very heated; the two fall out for good, and never speak again. Peter has his own family; he loses contact with his parents, and grows distant from his siblings. John and Julie remain close with Hannah and Eve. However, they have completely forgotten that they have appointed Peter to be the executor of their Will.
Many years later, Julie passes away; a few years later, so does John. The Will is found by Hannah and Eve, but they are shocked to see that Peter remains the sole executor. Not only that, but Eve isn’t mentioned in the Will at all. Reading further still, Hannah finds no provisions in the Will from Julie to specify that Hannah should inherit her car.
Because John and Julie failed to update their Will, one of their children isn’t mentioned, Hannah may not receive the gift Julie wanted to give her, and Peter- their estranged son- is the sole individual in charge of ensuring their wishes are adhered to. It is clear to see that failing to update your Will can have dire consequences.
Updating your Will isn’t difficult to do and is vitally important; Accord check in with clients regularly to ensure Wills are up to date.
If you still haven’t made a Will, or made one some time ago and feel it may need updating, speak to Accord today on 01744 807048. We can explain what needs to be done to ensure your Will is valid, up-to-date and fit for purpose.