Two-third UK adults with no valid Will in place!
UK Charity’s Shocking Finding: two-thirds of UK adults don’t have a valid Will in place!
A recent survey by Macmillan Cancer Support found that 2 out of 3 adults in the UK have yet to make a Will and those with a Will in place are likely to be making common errors.
Two-thirds of the UK adult population are still to make a Will, according to research by UK charity MacMillan Cancer Support, meaning that their property, assets, money and even dependent children could be left with someone they have not chosen. Without a will in place when you die, the law decides how your estate is passed on – and this might not be in line with your wishes.
The research conducted in December 2017, even more worryingly shows that 42% of over 55’s don’t have a will and the findings also suggest that up to 1.5million people may have unknowingly invalidated their will by getting married. Marriage automatically voids ant previously made Will.
The charity’s survey also found that even those who had made a will were making common errors such as still including an ex-partner, not adding new beneficiaries like children or grandchildren and leaving in someone who they had ‘planned to remove’.
Official guidance recommends that people review their Will every five years and after any major life changes, yet a quarter of respondents hadn’t updated their Will in at least five years.
Commenting on the research findings, Wajid Darr, Director at Cooke Painter Solicitors in Bristol said “It is shocking to hear that almost two-thirds of people who need a Will still haven’t got one in place, however the start of a new year is the ideal time to think about getting your affairs in order. If you already have a Will in place, maybe now is a good time to check that it is still valid, particularly if it was written over five years ago.”
Making sure your will is legally valid
If your circumstances change, or if you haven’t checked your Will in some time, it is important that you update the contents to ensure that it remains legally valid. If you die without a valid Will in place, there are certain rules, which dictate how the money, property or possessions should be allocated. This may not be the way that you would have wished your money and possessions to be distributed. Your Will doesn’t have to be a complicated document, a Will is a valid will as long as it:
- Says how your estate should be shared out when you die.
- Was made when you were able to make your own decisions and you weren’t put under pressure about who to leave things to.
- Is signed and dated by you in the presence of two adult, independent witnesses, and then signed by the two witnesses in your presence – the witnesses can’t be people who are going to inherit anything from you (or their husband/wife or civil partner.
There are however, some circumstances when it is particularly advisable to use a solicitor to help write your Will. These are where:
- you share a property with someone who is not your husband, wife or civil partner;
- you wish to make provision for a dependant who is unable to care for themselves;
- there are several family members who may make a claim on the Will, for example, a second wife or children from a first marriage;
- your permanent home is not in the United Kingdom;
- where you are concerned about the possible impact of care fees;
- where Inheritance Tax could potentially be an issue for your estate;
- you are resident in the UK but there is overseas property involved; and
- if there is a business involved.
Mr Darr continued: “If you’re unsure in any way about the validity of your Will, then it is prudent to have it written and checked by a legal professional. The consequences of not having a well-drafted Will can be dire, and as the results in the survey show, many of us fall into the trap of not keeping our Will up to date.
“Using a professional to write your Will prevents those common mistakes from being made. Their experience and legal knowledge means solicitors can foresee and deal with any potential issues in addition they can advise on safely storing your Will, granting probate and executing your final wishes.”
Read the full article on the Macmillan/Opinion Matters survey. https://www.macmillan.org.uk/aboutus/news/latest_news/will-ful-ignorance-macmillan-reveals-the-shocking-state-of-uk-wills-.aspx