Failure to create a will places UK public assets in jeopardy
In a survey we ran to gather the UK public’s thoughts on writing a will, a staggering 67% admitted to not having a will in place, placing the legacy that they have spent their entire lives building up under threat and potentially leaving their family with a complicated legal process to embark upon during the grieving process.
Despite 90% of the 1,182 survey respondents planning to leave their assets to their immediate family, not having a will in place will mean their belongings and financial assets are not guaranteed to go directly to their loved ones, something which over half of participants said they knew.
What happens if someone dies without making a will?
When somebody dies without a will in place, strict inheritance laws will establish who is entitled to inherit what. These intestacy rules do not account for modern family situations, such as cohabitating, unmarried couples and stepchildren, meaning assets could end up being given to an unintended party - such as an ex-partner if you are separated but not divorced. In cases where no blood relatives can be located, an estate will be passed to the Crown.
If there are children aged under 18 left behind when somebody dies, a lack of clear instruction on how they will be taken care of and when they can inherit their intended assets will mean decisions will be made by the state.
Not leaving a will can also result in Inheritance Tax payments that could have been avoided if a document was drafted - this can increase cost and lengthen the delay in administering an estate.
What makes people want to leave a will?
Our survey revealed that the five most common life events that would make people more likely to write a will include:
- Ill health (32%)
- Coming into money (30%)
- Getting older (30%)
- Having children (27%)
- Fear of passing away (17%)
Surprisingly, changes to an individual’s status, such as getting married and buying a new home, fared at the lower end of the list. Also, only 7% cited reducing Inheritance Tax as a reason for making a will.
The benefits of making a will
Drafting a last will and testament takes little planning but can prove invaluable in the event of death to ensure that assets reach the right people at the right time, minimising tax along the way.
Making a will can help to ensure that an estate is properly dealt with by:
- Appointing executors and trustees to administer the estate
- Appointing guardians for children aged under the age of 18
- Ensuring financial provision for help with raising children under 18, including their health, welfare and education needs
- Setting an appropriate age for children under 18 to receive an inheritance in due course
- Ensuring that loved ones are financially provided for
- Making sure gifts to chosen beneficiaries are secured
- Setting up life interest trusts to ensure a spouse or partner can stay in the family home
- Securing loved ones’ means-tested state benefits
- Reducing the amount of Inheritance Tax to be paid
Of those who have made a will, most respondents cited that it took losing a family member or loved one to spur them to secure their legacy.
How Percy Hughes & Roberts can help
At Percy Hughes & Roberts Solicitors, we have a team of dedicated wills, trusts and probate solicitors who have helped many people write valid and thorough wills to protect their legacy.
Our wills, trusts and probate solicitors also have a wealth of experience in assisting people with writing a new will so that their inheritance goes to the places they wish it to.
Contact Percy Hughes & Roberts
To speak to a wills and probate solicitor for advice, contact Percy Hughes & Roberts for a no-obligation phone consultation today. We provide ourselves on offering expert advice that's easy to understand, and we will be with you through every step of the legal process.