Recent research from Which? has revealed that less than a third (31%) of people in Scotland have written their Will, lagging slightly behind Wales at 35%. England is not faring much better, with only four in ten (42%) of people having written a Will.
The reasons given in the survey for not writing a Will are worrying, with four in ten (38%) saying they have nothing worth inheriting, one in five (20%) saying that they hadn’t thought about it and 16% claiming that they had been too busy.
Martin Wade, Director of Fielding Triggs, Will and Estate Planning Specialists said, “The report underlines some of the biggest problems with Wills and Estate Planning. Procrastination and lack of awareness mean that there is a chronic shortfall in the number of people with a valid Will, Estate Plan and Lasting Power of Attorney in place. You don’t have to be wealthy to get the important benefits that they provide.”
The research also found that those who did have a Will in place waited until they were 47 years old, on average, before writing it.
When asked whether they would leave money to charity, two thirds (67%) said that they would not. Of those, the majority (64%) said this was because they wanted to leave their money to family. However, without a valid Will and Estate Planning, they may not leave as much as they might wish.
What happens if you die without leaving a valid Will?
- You may create an unnecessary tax bill for your beneficiaries.
- Your unmarried partner could get nothing and be made homeless.
- Your estate may go to people you would not choose. For example, if you’re separated, your estranged spouse may benefit.
- The courts may choose potentially unsuitable guardians for your children.
- Your business may be divided up, sold or given to someone you would not choose. This might be your ex-spouse for example. More information on your business.
- Dependants needing care may not receive your financial assistance, no-matter what your intentions.
- Others may claim on your estate bringing large expenses, turmoil and lengthy delays.
- You won’t know who will take care of your pets.
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Research note: the survey was conducted by Populus (Omnibus) on behalf of Which? Legal. Questions on wills and where people would want to leave money to were asked to a sample of 2,078 adults across United Kingdom; fieldwork was conducted on 8th-10th June 2018.