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The Importance of Continuously Updating Your Will

View profile for Laura Pracy
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An estimated 40 million people in Britain have not produced a Will. It’s, therefore, no surprise that the term ‘wills apathy’ has been widely used to illustrate a behavioural trend among the general public.

This trend shows that the public, generally speaking, fail to ensure that their will reflects important shifts in their circumstances. Such circumstances may include marriage, divorce or having children. However, a recent court decision has shone a light on the importance of continuously updating your Will and proves a useful reminder of the financial and legal risks that maintaining an outdated Will carries.

The Case of Ubbi v Ubbi

The case of Ubbi v Ubbi saw Bianca Maria Corrado challenge the distribution of Malkiat Singh Ubbi’s (‘the Deceased’s) estate where an outdated will executed prior to the birth of their illegitimate children failed to make provision for them. Corrado, the Deceased’s long-term mistress, acted as a litigation friend for her and the Deceased’s illegitimate children (aged three years and six months). Corrado brought a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act, a piece of legislation which allows certain categories of applicants, including children to bring claims for reasonable financial provision from the Deceased’s estate if the will fails to do so.

The Deceased’s will, drafted in 2010, did not provide for his illegitimate children with Corrado. During the case, the Deceased was described to be living a ‘double life’ running two households. However, at the time of his death, the Deceased was living with Corrado and attempting to divorce his wife. The Deceased died unexpectedly in February 2015 before the divorce was finalised.  His will was however left unamended. This resulted in the will not providing for the two children the Deceased had with Corrado. Corrado’s claim on behalf of her children was successful and they were was awarded £386,000 from the Deceased’s £3.5 million estate.

Updating Your Will

This case highlights the importance to review will especially following major shifts in your circumstances or following a change in the circumstances of someone named in your will. Marriage, the birth of a child, divorce or even moving to a new house may all warrant an amendment of your will. There is no clear-cut rule for when a will must be updated, and because of this, every person with a will ought to stay alert to any major life changes and consider amending their will accordingly.

However impactful the change which you may wish to introduce to your will, you should seek legal advice to assess the appropriate measures to be taken and to ensure a successful and efficient method of incorporating the new provisions into your will. If you have discovered that provision has not been made for in an outdated will, you may be eligible to bring a claim under the Inheritance (Provison for Family and Dependants) Act.

Contact

If you require clarification or assistance with any of the matters discussed above, or would like some help with a will, you can get in touch with one of our experts by contacting Laura Pracy on 0161 785 7921 at your earliest convenience.

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers LLP or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.