Nearly two out of three people in the UK haven’t made a will and so risk creating a financial nightmare for their families, according to new research.
The survey suggests that many people don’t make a will because they feel uncomfortable about discussing death and their dying wishes.
However, there is a great deal at stake for family members left behind.
If you die intestate, that is, without having made a will, there is no way of knowing who you would have wanted to inherit your estate. In those circumstances, your wealth is passed on in a way laid down by law.
It means that some of the people who matter most to you may miss out, while most of your money goes to relatives you may not see very often or even like very much.
People who live together but are not married are particularly at risk. The law doesn’t automatically recognise cohabitants in the way that it recognises spouses so your partner may be overlooked when your estate is being passed on to others.
There may also be unnecessary complications for your children and dependants if you haven’t stated who you would like to care for them after your death.
The research was carried out by the Dying Matters Coalition. It revealed that only 36% of adults in the UK have made a will.
The President of the Law Society, Nicholas Fluck, said: “It is extremely concerning that a significant number of people have not written a will and made their final wishes clear. It is understandable that most of us are uncomfortable discussing our dying wishes, especially younger people, but you have nothing to lose and your loved ones can have everything to gain if you ensure your affairs are in order.
“The families of those who die intestate will often use their experience as a cautionary tale of struggling with banks, utility companies and property sales, for example. Don’t let that be your family.
“A badly drafted will can cause more problems than no will at all, so the Law Society advises against using unregulated will writers. All solicitors are subject to strict regulation to ensure that they deliver the best service to their clients, unlike unregulated will writers.
“Solicitors are unparalleled in the will writing market as only they have the breadth of training to consider wider implications and complex issues, including tax and family law.”
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