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Welcome to Update Your Will Week

Update Your Will Week starts today and runs until the 3rd April.

The aim is to encourage more people to update their Will and ensure their wishes are carried out exactly as they wish when they die.

The initiative is being run by SFE (Solicitors for the Elderly).  SFE was set up in 1996 to bring together the legal specialists who support and make a difference to older and vulnerable people by ensuring they have the support they need to make crucial decisions regarding themselves and their loved ones.

SFE is now a thriving national organisation with over 1600 members across the United Kingdom and a separate group in the Republic of Ireland.

Why do we need an Update Your Will week?

With so much going on in our lives it’s very easy to forget you should really review and update your Will every five years or when a major change (for example birth, death or divorce) occurs in your life that could impact on you or your loved ones.

If your Will doesn’t reflect your current situation and your wishes, it may be difficult for your wishes to be carried out exactly as you want them to be when you pass.  Unfortunately, this could very well lead to increased stress for and arguments between your family and friends.

And research commissioned by SFE suggests this reminder couldn’t have come sooner.

According to this study, 47% of us haven’t updated our Will for more than five years.  More worryingly, of those third haven’t updated it for over 7 years and more than 20% haven’t reviewed theirs for more than a decade.

Why do you need to update your Will?

This study also suggests the reason for this inactivity stems from a lack of understanding of why you need to review and update your Will:

  • 56%of respondents didn’t know the law decides who will inherit your assets if if there isn’t a Will in place.
  • 77% didn’t realise that a couple living together without marriage or civil partnership won’t inherit each other’s assets if there isn’t a Will in place.
  • 66% didn’t realise their wife/husband/civil partner won’t automatically inherit their full estate if there isn’t a Will in place.

Moreover, if you don’t have a Will or are relying on an outdated Will, there could be severe implications for your family and friends after your death.

They may be faced with significantly higher inheritance tax bills or, in the worst case, miss out on their inheritances altogether.

In fact, an incredible 11% of British families have, in some way, been caught out by a “bad will” and the  number of contended probates (disputes between beneficiaries over the provisions of a Will) have been rising steadily over the last 10 years.

The good news is avoiding all these issues is easy.  You just need to speak to either the lawyer who drafted your Will originally or if you don’t yet have a Will or would like a second opinion, you can speak to an experienced SFE lawyer.

They’ll discuss your situation in detail and talk you through exactly what you need to do to put everything in place for your and your family’s future.

Deniece Lines in our Private Client team is a hugely experienced Wills, probate and trust lawyer.  She is also a long-standing SFE member.  If you’d like to speak to Deniece, please email her or call Deniece on 0208 866 1820.