NEW research reveals almost half (46%) of people with a will haven't updated it for more than five years.

The YouGov research commissioned by SFE (Solicitors for the Elderly) shows that over a third of people (33%) haven’t updated their will for more than 7 years, and over a fifth (24%) haven't dusted it off in more than a decade.

Kathryn Barnett, a solicitor at Butterworths Solicitors in Kendal, warns that an outdated will could cause severe implications for loved ones – including missed inheritances and higher inheritance tax fees:

“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. 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.

“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.

“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.”