Liverpool lawyer offers wills warning

Too many people are not updating their wills leading to potential complications and conflict for their families, a Liverpool lawyer is warning. Tony McDonough reports

John-Paul Dennis
John-Paul Dennis, a solicitor at Astraea Linskills

 

A Liverpool lawyer says too many people are potentially leaving a ticking time-bomb for their loved ones by not updating their wills.

John-Paul Dennis, a solicitor at Astraea Linskills, cites new research from YouGov research commissioned by SFE (Solicitors for the Elderly). It reveals more than one-third of people haven’t updated their will for more than seven years, and almost a quarter haven’t dusted it off in more than a decade.

John-Paul is accredited by SFE having undertaken additional training to specialise in supporting people, including older and vulnerable people, with wills, powers of attorney, trusts, tax planning and care home fees planning.

He warns that an outdated will could cause severe implications for loved ones – including missed inheritances and higher inheritance tax fees. He explained: “Having an up-to-date and well drafted will is crucial to ensure your wishes are carried out in the way you’d like when you die.

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“I recommend a will is reviewed and updated every five years, or when a major change in your life occurs that impacts you or your loved ones, such as divorce, marriage, a new birth or even death in the family.”

The research highlighted that almost a third of people with a will have had significant changes to their lives and circumstances since they drafted it. It also revealed many people believe common myths about wills:

  • Just 16% of Brits realise that remarrying invalidates a will.
  • Less than a third of people realise stepchildren won’t be included in your will unless you stipulate that separately.
  • 17% of people wrongly think you can update your will by making changes on the original document and initialling them.

“Many people assume that once you have drafted a will you don’t need to review it, and that your wishes will be carried out as you wish them to be posthumously – but unfortunately, that’s not true,” added John-Paul.

“If you remarry, for example, your will gets revoked. Or if you marry into a family and have stepchildren that you’d like to inherit your assets, this won’t happen automatically unless you stipulate it in a new will. All these details are crucial to avoid family disputes – which we know can be very distressing for loved ones.”

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