The complications caused by not updating your will

Recent stories in the press about the tragic death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman have raised questions for many people about the process of updating your Will and what consequences and complications can arise as a result of a failure to do so.

In the Seymour Hoffman case, his Will had not been updated to cover all his children. Sadly, this oversight left the children’s mother in a potentially costly challenge.


The original Will was signed in 2004, at which point Hoffman had just one child, an eleven year old called Cooper. Since the creation of his Will however, Hoffman had a further two children, Tallulah and Willa. As a result of not updating the Will, neither of his young daughters were included.

The case of Hoffman’s Will is very similar to that of Heath Ledger, who died of a drug overdose in 2008. Ledger did not update his Will and he almost disinherited his daughter. Matilda Rose was only 2 when Ledger died. His Will did not mention either his daughter or her mother, actress Michelle Williams.

Having a Will can make the process of dividing up an estate following a death a very straightforward process. It is one that is greatly appreciated by loved ones who are left behind to deal with the legal issues that result from a death. However, if your Will is not properly updated, it can cause many problems.


To avoid this unnecessary burden falling on the people you care about, it is important to make sure that you have a legal Will in place. Also, that the information on this is updated in line with any life changes, such as marriages or divorces and upon the birth of any children. Buying or selling any large assets, such as a house, can also have an impact on your Will.

It is generally recommended that any Will is professionally reviewed every few years to make sure that it remains current and valid.

Insurance providers, Saga, want to encourage people to ensure that they have a current Will in place. This is so that people can be prepared if case the worst happens.


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