The dangers of out of date wills

What happens if my will is out of date?

You may think that once you have written a will, that’s it, job done. However, as you go through life and things change, your wishes and what you’ve put in your will are likely to change along with them.

Changes that may alter the wishes that you put in your original will might include: if you get married, divorced or remarried; have children, grandchildren or even great grandchildren; if you buy property or invest all may alter what your beneficiaries will inherit.

Basically at every point in your life when circumstances change, it is best to consider how it will impact upon your will. Even if nothing has changed, it is still good practice to review your will every three years to ensure that everything in there is valid and reflects your wishes.

If you are divorced

If you have got divorced since your last will and your ex partner was a named beneficiary, then your ex partner is treated as having predeceased you. You would therefore want to make a new will to reflect your change in circumstances.

If you have a new partner but are not divorced then your ex partner is still likely to inherit from your will as they are still legally your spouse.

If you now have children

If you had your will drawn up before you had children, they will not be adequately taken into account if you die. To ensure that your children inherit from you, you will need to ensure that you have made provisions for them in your will. This goes beyond them just inheriting property, assets or savings from you. If they are under the age of 18, they will need to have someone who will be able to care for them. This will need to be set out in your will and a guardian will need to be appointed.

Out of date wills

If you have grandchildren

You may have written your will after you had children, so they are provided for in your will. However, your children may now have children of their own. So if you are wanting to leave anything to them you need to include this within your will.

If someone has died

If someone has died who was named in your will, then you should review your will. This person could be someone that you were planning on leaving a gift to, or they could have been someone you had chosen to be a guardian for your child, or they may have been an executor to your will.

Extra things to know

It is important to keep your will somewhere safe and where it can easily be found. This helps your family, as if it can’t be found, it may be presumed that you destroyed it, which could result in your wishes being ignored and your estate being divided up according to the Laws of Intestacy.

How can I find out more information?

If you would like to discuss any of the above or to find out more information, please contact us on 0800 614 722 to speak to one of our specialist legal professionals, or visit our local office.