55% of adults in the UK do not have a valid Will - is this you?
Posted on 8th October 2019 at 17:34
As of 2018 new research shows that approximately 55% of adults do not have a Will in place with many not understanding how to go about it.
If you do not have a Will how could this affect you?
55% of adults in the UK do not have a Will and more alarmingly approximately 60% of adults do not have a valid Will, meaning their Will is out of date due to a change in their circumstances. This can have serious implications should the worst happen.
If you do not have a valid Will in place when you pass away a set of rules called the intestacy rule will apply. These set of rules are inflexible and dictate who will have the authority to deal with your estate and who will benefit, in what proportions.
This doesn’t sit well with many of our clients who want peace of mind and an element of control in the way their estate is ultimately dealt with and distributed.
Do I need a Will?
There are many reasons for putting in place a Will.
1. Incorporation of stepchildren and third parties
Family is who we choose and as such, putting in place a Will enables you to incorporate stepchildren, step-grandchildren and any other third party as beneficiaries in your Will such as friends and charities.
Sometimes, we don’t want to incorporate stepchildren or step-grandchildren and that’s okay too. Many people may be on their second marriage with children from a previous relationship. If you are married or in a civil partnership and want to protect and ring-fence some assets for your children from a previous relationship, or other beneficiaries, then a Will allows you to do this.
2. Ring-fencing assets
You may also wish to protect or ring-fence assets by utilising a trust in your Will to ensure your assets are protected should one of the beneficiaries become bankrupt, enter divorce proceedings or are vulnerable due to disability or otherwise.
Wills trusts can also assist surviving spouses or partners who later require case as part of sensible care home fee planning measures.
It is important to review your Will every 2-5 years, or sooner if there is a change in your familial circumstances.
Surprisingly, only approximately 32% of UK adults with dependent children have a valid Will in place.
A Will allows you to include carefully selected guardians for your children should something happen to you, your spouse or partner. This is a number one priority for many parents who need to ensure that children have the right people in place to take over should tragedy strike.
If no guardian is appointed, and family or friends begin to argue over who should look after your children, the court will appoint guardians for them. These may not be the people you would have selected, or who your children want to be with.
You can also make financial provision for the guardian(s) to ensure they have enough capital to look after your children.
If you have a Will in place and then later marry or enter into a civil partnership, your old Will becomes void. A new Will needs to be put in place. Otherwise, your whole estate up to £250,000.00 will go to your new spouse/partner. Anything over £250,000.00 is subject to different rules.
If you get divorced, or dissolve your civil partnership, you may wish to revisit your Will to ensure the document reflects your accurate wishes.
A bereavement may also necessitate a change in your Will. Whether the deceased was a guardian, executor or beneficiary, you may wish to update the document to ensure substitute provisions are incorporated.
7. Peace of mind for your partner
Cohabitees have no rights to each other’s estates in law. By putting in place a Will, you are free to leave your property, or a right to live in your property to your partner and leave any other assets you’d like to them.
You may think if you live together that they would be taken care of, but this is simply not the case.
8. Estate planning due to taxation concerns
Approximately 20% of adults in the UK do not have a Will because they do not think they are wealthy enough. It is a common misconception that Wills are for the rich and elderly as Wills are an effective planning tool to minimise any inheritance tax liability and to obtain peace of mind and certainty that your wishes will be carried out regardless of the value of your estate.
9. Choosing your executor
To make sure your wishes are carried out when you pass away it is important to appoint trusted individuals who will respect your wishes and are also emotionally and mentally capable of dealing with your estate. It will also help to select objective, organised and level-headed individuals.
10. Saving your family stress
Putting in place a will can save your family extra stress of filling in more paperwork, avoiding delays and confusion. This will make an already difficult time that bit easier to allow them to grieve.
Private Client Solicitor
Making a Will is easy
At Avery Walters our team of specialists can provide advice about Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Trusts and Probate.
Contact us on 0113 2007480 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange your free initial, no obligation consultation with a specialist.
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