Not only is it important to make a will, it is also important that you review it regularly.
There are countless events in your life that should prompt you to review and amend (if necessary) your will. This can vary from receiving a large amount of money, the birth or death of a family member or friend, or even marriage or divorce. These are just a few examples of things that might make you think about your will.
As an example, say you make a will which contains the following:
• A gift of your jewellery to a niece
• A gift of the proceeds of a particular bank account to an old friend, worth about £15,000
• All the rest of your estate to your nephew.
At the time of making your Will, your estate included your house and was worth in the region of £50,000.
When your will is being administered several years later your estate has reduced in value due to general living expenses, travel and a prolonged period of time in residential care.
Your estate consists of cash and the jewellery. The cash now totals £25,000.
Due to the statutory provisions which apply to the distribution of estates and in particular the order in which gifts and debts are paid, your estate will be dealt with as follows:
• Your nephew receives no benefit as the funeral expenses and administrative are taken from the remainder of the estate first leaving nothing for him!
• The old friend receives a reduced cash sum as the remainder of the funeral and administrative must come out of this general cash gift after the residue of the estate has been used.
• The niece receives her gift of jewellery in full.
• The friend receives the gift of the proceeds of the bank account because there was more than enough in it to meet the legacy and as this gift was directed to be paid from a specific fund it has a higher ranking than the other general gift.
Obviously, this is certainly not how you intended your estate to be distributed!
In some cases, the passage of time or an alteration in personal circumstances might be enough to have a significant impact on who takes most benefit from your will and the outcome may not be what is expected.
Will Review Service
You need to review and prepare you will very carefully and in particular with someone who understands how different gifts are dealt with under the general law and can advise you how best to complete your will to suit your requirements.
For more information about Wills please contact Juliette Carter on 01782 66 24 24.