We all know how important it is to make a Will, don’t we? After all, it’s the only way to ensure that what you leave behind goes to those you want. Making a Will also ensures that there is also no added stress for loved ones in what are already difficult times post-bereavement. Yet it seems that the majority of us are failing to take our responsibilities seriously. According to a recent YouGov survey, nearly two thirds of the UK’s adult population still do not have a Will.
The YouGov poll of 1,794 adults was conducted for the Legal Services Consumer Panel Tracker Survey 2015. It found that although 38 per cent of the public in England and Wales had a Will in 2015, up from 35 per cent in 2014; crucially the vast majority of the public did not.
These concerns have also been echoed by the charity, Age Concern. In an interview with the BBC a charity spokesperson said the number of enquiries about people who have died without making a Will has more than doubled over the past five years, rising from 1,522 queries in 2011 to 3,747 in 2015. The charity also reported a similar dramatic rise in the number of queries regarding problems executing Wills and probate: Age Concern received 8,160 queries in 2011, but dealt with 11,137 enquiries in 2015.
It’s not only the rich and famous people like Prince who are dying intestate and leaving a legacy of problems for their families: it’s ordinary people too, and this failure can sadly prove to be very costly. The BBC spoke to one executor called Brian who was required to administer the estate of his late cousin after he died intestate. He left approximately £700,000. He told the BBC the process took about two years to conclude, cost thousands of pounds and resulted in 17 people, some of whom had never met Peter, splitting his estate:
“We had to pay £240,000 in inheritance tax so that hurts. If he had gone to a solicitor they would have sorted all that out for him.”
“It took two years of my life. I took it on as a bit of a challenge really, and I felt obliged to do it because we were fairly close, and I just felt I had to do it.”
“I think my message to everyone would be to please make a Will, because then you can give your money to the people of your choice,” he added.
Jonathan Smithers from the Law Society, a body which represents solicitors in England and Wales, said it is crucial for people to make a Will, especially those with children or property or financial investments:
“A Will helps to ensure that your assets are divided among the family, friends and charities of your choice, and can help you manage the amount of inheritance tax you pay.”
“Thousands of people die every year without making a Will or without one that has been properly drafted. If you die without a Will your final wishes may well go unheeded, and your loved ones may have to cope with additional financial stress at a time of bereavement.”
Making a Will is one of the most important things you will ever do, so it’s better for all concerned if you consult an expert. A properly constructed Will guarantees that your loved ones are looked after and cared for in the way you would want and expect. Wouldn’t your family’s future be safer in the hands of a qualified, experienced and regulated solicitor who fully understands the complexities of inheritance law? For guaranteed peace of mind call Harold Stock Solicitors on 01457 835597 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.