Earlier this year, YouGov carried out a poll on behalf of children’s charity Barnardo’s. The results indicate that 58 per cent of adults in the UK, and 74 per cent of those who are cohabiting, do not currently have a will in place.
According to the poll, whilst most people understand the importance of executing a will, 32 per cent of those who have not yet done so said they had ‘always meant to but never got round to it’. Of the people over age 55 surveyed, 25 per cent said they did not feel the need to make a will because their estate would go to their families in any case.
Those who had already made a will tended to have done so at a relatively early age, with 61 per cent of those surveyed having carried this out before the age of 41. 23 per cent had completed the process as part of general financial planning and 22 per cent saw having children as the main reason for executing a will.
If you die without making a will, your estate and possessions will be divided according to the rules of intestacy. There are no guarantees that the distribution will correspond with your intentions. This is of particular importance to those living with a partner, as a surviving partner does not have the same inheritance rights as a spouse or civil partner. Taking the simple precaution of making your wishes known in a properly drafted will can prevent exposing your loved ones to financial difficulty.
Whatever your situation, the making of a will ensures that your wishes are complied with, but it can also help to minimise the tax burden when you die. In addition, it is normally possible to administer a testate estate more quickly than one that is intestate.