We recently commissioned a survey to determine how many Americans didn’t have a Will. But we added a question that most surveys don’t ask; “Do you have a Will, but you consider it to be out-of-date?”. People often feel that it’s difficult to get their Will written. But updating a Will can be just as onerous and expensive.
For Americans over the age of 65, over 15% had a Will in place, that they regarded as out-of-date.
Traditionally, writing a Will has been an expensive and inconvenient process. You would need to make an appointment with a lawyer. If you lived with a spouse or partner, you would need to co-ordinate this appointment with their schedule. You may even need to arrange childcare. Writing a Will with a lawyer is rarely done in one visit. You may need to discuss certain decisions with loved ones. You would certainly have to return to sign the documents after they have been prepared.
As a result, people have traditionally thought of Will writing as a once-in-a-lifetime activity. They would wait until that perfect time in their life to write their Will. A point in their life when nothing would likely change.
The problem is, that time never came, and as a result 65% of American adults don’t have an up-to-date Will in place.
Feeling left out? Can you contest a Will?
My uncle promised me his car, but he’s died and the Will says nothing about the car. Do I have a right to it? How can I contest a Will?
This happens a lot. Somebody dies, the Will is published for all to see, and it doesn’t quite meet the expectations of family and loved ones. Sometimes there is a suspicion that something strange has been going on. There’s a sense that somebody worked on the individual, persuaded them to make some changes and updates, and all of a sudden the estate that was going to the children, is now going to the new person who has just appeared on the scene.
So what rights do you have? Can you contest a Will if it seems that something strange has been going on? Or if that promised item is not included in the Will?
Maybe you are ready to write your Will, but you want to leave some people out. How can you be sure that after you have written your Will it will not be challenged?