We often come across estates with beneficiaries who are proving difficult to trace for a number of reasons. These reasons include family estrangement, death of the beneficiary, and poor drafting of a Will often by a non-professional person.
The Personal Representatives of the deceased have a legal duty to locate all beneficiaries entitled to inherit, and if they cannot locate a beneficiary themselves then the law allows for reasonable costs to be incurred by the estate to try and locate any missing beneficiary. Genealogists can be required and fees can quickly ascend, depleting the estate for all beneficiaries.
When we meet with clients to sign their Wills, we give them examples of events which should trigger them to think about updating their Wills in the future, including the above examples. Often people aren’t aware that their Will should be treated as more of a working document than a final one.
In order to avoid any complications and unnecessary costs after your death, we encourage clients to regularly check their Wills to ensure that they are as up to date as possible. If any of your beneficiaries have simply changed address, then you may not even need a new Will to ensure your Executors are up to date, and this is something which any of the Private Client department here at Neves would be able to discuss with you.
If you have any questions about changes to your Will, or think that you may need to update it on reflection, then please do not hesitate to get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org with any initial questions. The Private Client department is always happy to help as far as we can.