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Warning as out-of-date Wills cost heirs thousands

New figures show that dying with an out-of-date Will can mean heirs are missing out on almost £10,000 in lost assets.

The statistics, from will registration service Wills & Assets, found that as many as 175,000 Britons have difficulty tracking down assets listed in Wills because the documents are out-of-date.

Victoria Taylor, solicitor in the Wills & Estate Planning team at Napthens solicitors, points to the figures as an illustration of why Wills should be updated every few years.

She also warns that there are still too many people who do not even have a Will. The figures show that half of all British people do not have one in place.

Victoria said: “These figures should be a wake-up call to anybody who has not checked their Will for some time, or who doesn’t have one in place at all.

“An out-of-date Will can leave those administering an estate with significant difficulties tracking down assets.

“Many people assume that if an estate is straightforward, it will be simple to administer. This may be true in a minority of cases, but generally, the cost to a family member of tasks such as unravelling bank accounts and tax responsibilities can quickly outweigh the cost of making a Will in the first place.

“For instance, without a Will, how would surviving family members know whose responsibility it is to carry out this work and what their entitlement is?

“I would urge anybody with a Will to look at reviewing it regularly – at least every five years. Some law firms, including Napthens, now offer a free review service and fixed fees for writing a Will in the first place.”