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Majority of 16-54 year olds do not have a will

Government to receive nearly £6bn from avoidable inheritance tax by 2018

27 October 2014

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Research by the Law Society has revealed that 73 per cent of 16-54 year olds do not have a will while 64 per cent of people aged over 55 have a written will.

The study also revealed that men are more likely to have a will than women. The findings have prompted the Society to warn people that dying intestate and without a will can have dire consequences for those left behind.

Intestacy laws were recently updated through the Inheritance and Trustees Powers Act 2014, but without a written will making clear the deceased wishes, it is impossible to ensure that the right people benefit from the estate.

Andrew Caplen, president of the Law Society, voiced his concerns at the figures: "Thousands of people die every year without making a will or without a properly drafted will. These figures show just how bad the problem is.

"Dying intestate not only means your final wishes will probably go unheeded, but the financial and emotional mess is left for your loved ones to sort out. This need not be your final legacy.

23 percent of respondents incorrectly believed that without a will, their possessions would automatically go to their loved ones and as a result, over £8m went to the government.

The Society also estimates that by 2018, the government will receive nearly £6bn from inheritance tax, which it said can be hugely reduced by drafting a will and careful planning.

Caplen urged the public to draw up a professionally drafted will to avoid the problems associated with dying intestate and 'home made' wills.

"Making a will is usually a very simple process but we urge people to use a qualified, insured solicitor because he or she will be able to spot the nuances that could lead to trouble later on if not properly addressed."

Lack of motivation

A separate survey conducted by YouGov revealed that almost half of respondents (47.2 per cent) do not have a will because they do not feel old enough, while 34 per cent felt they didn't have anything worth leaving behind.

A "high number" of respondents said they had decided to draft a will following a divorce, while many others had been motivated by a near-death experience.

The YouGov survey also revealed that 71 per cent of people are more likely to use a law firm accredited by the Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme (WIQS).

 

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Wills, Trusts & Probate