Skip to main content
CLOSE

Charities

Close

Corporate and Commercial

Close

Employment and Immigration

Close

Fraud and Investigations

Close

Individuals

Close

Litigation

Close

Planning, Infrastructure and Regeneration

Close

Public Law

Close

Real Estate

Close

Restructuring and Insolvency

Close

Energy

Close

Entrepreneurs

Close

Private Wealth

Close

Real Estate

Close

Tech and Innovation

Close

Transport and Infrastructure

Close
Home / News and Insights / Insights / Would your will pass its MOT?

It’s easy to think ‘job done’ when a will is signed. But wills require regular review to reflect changed circumstances.

Readers who don’t own a vehicle in the UK may not know about the ‘MOT test’: almost all vehicles over three years old must pass an annual MOT test of vehicle safety and roadworthiness. Advice is always to get the MOT before the old one runs out.

The same principle applies to your will. It is not a once-in-a-lifetime event. A will reflects your review, at a specific point in time, of the financial security provision you want for your family, and the scope for reducing unnecessary tax liabilities. In a changing world it cannot remain untouched forever. This all seems very simple and should not cause sleepless nights.

What might keep you awake at night, however, are the ceaseless articles in the national press telling us that the number of wills being contested in the High Court is growing by a percentage that varies but is always significant, and that this ‘surge’ reflects increasingly complex family relationships.

To ensure that your final wishes are respected, the first step involves your giving your will a regular ‘MOT’, notably taking time to discuss it with us in the light of your current financial and family circumstances. This might be every three, five or seven years. Specific points to consider include:

  • your executors – are they still the right people? Are they still able and willing to act?
  • guardians for minor children – similar questions apply;
  • legacies – are any gifts to your children, grandchildren, godchildren, friends or charities up-to-date?
  • property – what will happen if it is sold prior to death?
  • funeral wishes – make any wishes known, but probably in a side letter rather than in the will itself; and
  • chattels – sharing personal possessions after a death often causes more upset than dividing up items that are purely financial, and clarity can help to avoid this difficulty. Think, too, about any ‘digital assets’ you may own. The online bank account may be the most common, but there are multitudes of others. If there is no off-line record, these may be overlooked.

There are constant changes in legislation affecting the world of wills, particularly in the tax sphere. Some may allow more flexibility with tax planning and others may impact arrangements set up many years ago under trusts, necessitating the recalculation of provision you have made.

Obviously, as with a car, if something significant changes, you should not wait until the next regular review date for your will, but get it checked out straight away.

And if you haven’t made a will, only ‘now’ is soon enough.

Related Articles

Our Offices

London
One Bartholomew Close
London
EC1A 7BL

Cambridge
50/60 Station Road
Cambridge
CB1 2JH

Reading
The Anchorage, 34 Bridge Street
Reading RG1 2LU

Southampton
4 Grosvenor Square
Southampton SO15 2BE

 

Reading
The Anchorage, 34 Bridge Street
Reading RG1 2LU

Southampton
4 Grosvenor Square
Southampton SO15 2BE

  • Lexcel
  • CYBER ESSENTIALS PLUS

© BDB Pitmans 2024. One Bartholomew Close, London EC1A 7BL - T +44 (0)345 222 9222

Our Services

Charities chevron
Corporate and Commercial chevron
Employment and Immigration chevron
Fraud and Investigations chevron
Individuals chevron
Litigation chevron
Planning, Infrastructure and Regeneration chevron
Public Law chevron
Real Estate chevron
Restructuring and Insolvency chevron

Sectors and Groups

Private Wealth chevron
Real Estate chevron
Transport and Infrastructure chevron