Wills - One Third of Over 55's Donít Have One!

17 April 2013

Across the UK, one third of over 55s and two thirds of those aged 35-54 do not have a will.  This means that on their death, all of their property, cash and possessions may pass to people they do not want to benefit.

According to a recent survey carried out by independent financial advice website Unbiased.co.uk the most common reason for not having a will is procrastination with just under one third of those surveyed saying they will make a will when they get older and more than one fifth stating, often mistakenly, that they have nothing of value to leave.

Many people assume that their property will automatically pass to their loved ones on their death, this isn't the case.

Dying intestate, without a will, means that your property will pass in accordance with the rules of intestacy.  These rules will stipulate who receives your property and no regard will be had to what you would have preferred.  This could add to the distress and financial suffering of your loved ones, particularly if they include a common law spouse or a step child.

In Northern Ireland, unmarried partners and partners who have not entered into a civil partnership are not provided for under the intestacy rules.  Nor are step children.  No matter how close your relationship a step child, that step child will not receive a thing from your estate if you die without a will.

Karen Barrett, chief executive of Unbiased.co.uk says "Too many people are unaware of the control that having a will gives you and it's important in ensuring your loved ones receive what you intended them to."

Leaving an out of date will can be as bad as not having one at all. You should review your existing will if there are any major changes in your circumstances; for instance if you marry, separate, divorce, have children or purchase property.  It is important to note that under Northern Ireland law, marriage invalidates an existing will.

Lack of planning could also mean the heirs of larger estates have to share their inheritance with the taxman.  If your estate is likely to exceed £325,000, the threshold at which 40% inheritance tax becomes payable, you should consider ways to save this liability, such as gifting assets before you die or putting them in trust.

Making a will can be easy and inexpensive.  A straightforward will prepared by a solicitor is likely to cost around £120.

Mistakes are likely to be made if you draw up your own will without legal advice.  If there are errors in your will this may cause problems after your death for your loved ones or even invalidate your will.  Sorting out these mistakes may also result in a lengthy delay of distribution of your estate and considerable legal costs.

Seize the moment, make your will now!

Lisa McMath - Solicitor

For further information and advice please contact one of our team:

028 90770770




Disclaimer: No information in this article shall be construed as legal advice. The information is offered for general purposes only based on the current law when the information was first displayed on this website. You should always seek advice from an appropriately qualified solicitor on any specific legal enquiry.


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