At KCT we were quite shocked when we came across a recent article in The Telegraph stating that the cost of dying with an outdated will could reach nearly £10,000 in lost assets, according to research from the paid-for will registration service Wills & Assets. It was discovered that around 175,000 Britons find it hard to track down certain assets left by deceased family members – resulting in a combined £175 million worth being lost every year.
The research found that out of the 1,978 individuals surveyed, around half failed to draw up a will or failed to regularly update their assets. It is common practice for bereaved heirs to utilise solicitors or probate detectives to track down any missing inheritance, but this can cost in excess of £2,000 in fees.
Chair of the Heir Hunters Association, Maurice Clarke, noted that "a massive fortune remains hidden in banks and financial institutions which are often missed in even well-made wills" – but also noted that if the next of kin are easily on-hand to collect the estate of the deceased, then having no will isn't necessarily an issue.
Stephen Foden from Wills & Assets, noted that it is best to update a will every couple of years; as even though it is uncomfortable and upsetting to think about dying, "failing to do so can leave loved ones with significant problems and stress at an already very tough time."
With the cost of executing a will due to plummet thanks to recent changes in the law allowing accountancy firms to offer probate services at a lower cost than solicitors, it seems like there is no better time to ensure everything is up-to-date.
Are you alarmed at the amount an outdated will can cost?