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Review Your Will: Why It Is Essential!

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A Photo of Hilary McIlveen, Consultant Solicitor at Clutton Cox Solicitors, Chipping SodburyNot only is it important to take the initial step to make a will, it is also important to review it regularly.

This is the first blog by our new Wills Trusts and Probate Consultant Solicitor Hilary McIlveen.

There are many occasions which should prompt you to review your will, such as the receipt of a large sum of cash, upon retirement, the death of a close family member, the birth of a child, marriage or divorce. These are just some examples of things that might make you think again about your will.

However, the passage of time and an alteration in personal circumstances may be enough to have a significant impact on who takes most benefit from your will and the outcome may not be what is expected.

As an example, if you had made a will which contained the following:

1. a gift of £25,000 to an old friend
2. a gift of your jewellery to a niece
3. a gift of the proceeds of a particular bank account to an old friend ,worth about £25,000
4. 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 £500,000.

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 £52,000.

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:

1.The nephew receives no benefit as the funeral expenses and administrative are taken from the remainder of the estate first leaving nothing for him!

2.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.

3.The niece receives her gift of jewellery in full

4.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.

This is almost certainly not how you intended your estate to be distributed!

How to avoid this outcome?

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 specific advice contact Hilary on 01454 312125 or email hilary[at]

Until the 28th February 2011, Hilary is offering a free 10 minute telephone consultation on any will, trust or probate issue.

Please quote reference: Hilary2011