According to a recent survey conducted by YouGov of over 2000 adults in the UK, 61% of adults do not have a Will. This means that just 4 in 10 people actually have a document that states how they would like their estate and belongings to be divided when they pass away.
The survey covered a wide age range, and it’s probably not a surprise that people aged 18-24 don’t think it’s important to have a Will just yet. However, even people above the age of 55 are only 71% likely to have one, even though they might be married with adult children and own their house.
Of the people who do not have a Will, most simply said they are putting off writing one. However, 16% of respondents said they didn’t think their estate was worth enough to even bother with a Will, while 11% simply believed that their estate would go to the ‘right’ person when they pass away. Neither of these assumptions are accurate, as even a small estate will need to be divided, and the people you wish to leave your estate to may not be entitled to inherit.
The majority of respondents who do have a Will contacted a solicitor to write it for them, and very few chose to do it themselves. People who choose to make DIY Wills are unfortunately more likely to make mistakes that are difficult to untangle, and do not realise that it has to be updated, especially when circumstances change.
Many of the survey respondents felt that complicated family situations, such as ones that involve divorce, re-marriage or step-children, prevented them from making a Will as they thought that the process would be especially difficult. In the long-term, it’s always easier and more reliable to use a specialist Wills and Probate solicitor.
You may be one of the people simply putting it off, assuming you can write a Will later. However, it’s easy to ‘leave it until later’ for a long time. Life is too unpredictable to postpone writing a Will – this is why so many people pass away without ever leaving one. If you die without leaving a Will, your estate will be divided up according to a set of rules called the rules of intestacy. You might think this makes the process easier, but instead, it can increase the risk of disputes among your loved ones as the rules of intestacy date back decades and do not reflect the family structures we have today.
Simply put, if you have an opinion on how your estate should be divided, you need to specify this in a Will. If your Will contains errors, even if they are small, your final wishes may be contested.
Many people assume that if they die without making a Will, the process will still be straightforward and that their family and loved ones will inherit their fair share. In reality, it can take months or even years to resolve these issues, which is frustrating when everyone involved is also experiencing the loss of a loved one.
The only way to ensure your wishes are heard is to make a Will, and if you get help from Will experts like Romain Coleman, you can also be certain that everything will be legally sound.
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