According to research from Will Aid, approximately 50% of the British public haven’t made a will, meaning that they will have no say over what happens to their belongings after they die.
This huge figure comes as no surprise to us at Best Value Probate, as we often hear the common myth that only rich or retired people need a will, but it’s not quite as straightforward as that, and this attitude can mean that family members are left without.
The charity’s statistics also show that over a third (35%) of the people who didn’t have a will in place have children under the age of 18. This means that if they died they would have no legal influence over who becomes the children’s new guardian. The courts would decide according to a set of rules, and this may not be the best person for the job, or the person you and your children would prefer.
In addition, almost a whole fifth (19%) of those without wills were over the age of 55 – the highest risk group surveyed. If these people were to die without a will, they would not be able to say where their assets go.
While to us it seems of obvious importance, but the statistics show that half of all Brits really aren’t concerned with writing a will. So why is that problematic?
Well, if you die without a will in place, your money, house, belongings and even your children and pets will go to whoever the courts decide. This is called the law of intestacy.
This becomes more complicated if you have remarried and had more children, or if you are separated but not divorced yet. In both of these cases, your assets could end up going to an ex-partner, your stepchildren, or someone who you are no longer on good terms with. In these circumstances your new family could end up with nothing or not being taken care of in the way you wish.
If none of this is relevant to you still, and you’re banking on your money going directly to a spouse or child without any complications, you should know that a properly drafted will can also help to reduce Inheritance Tax in some circumstances.
By speaking with a wills and probate solicitor, you can look into options like charitable legacies and non-taxable gifts to avoid your benefactors having to pay the huge 40% on everything over the £325,000 mark.
So we’ve finally convinced you? Great! Now all you need to do is make a will, and it’s not nearly as difficult or expensive as you may think.
You can write one yourself according to a template, though this has the potential for mistakes and could be contested if doesn’t fully comply with the law.
Your bank can write a will for you, though in many cases this can be expensive and you may have to promise a certain percentage (usually around 5%) of the estate to the bank in order for them to act as executor, and while 5% may not sound a lot, on just £100,000 it’s £5,000 – we’ll leave the rest of the maths to you!
The best way to make a will is to go to a specialist wills or probate solicitor who will be able to advise you on the legal implications of your will and ensure that everyone you want taken care of after you die is provided for. This service is not expensive and will stand up in any court, meaning your wishes will be fully adhered to after you die.
To speak to someone at Best Value Wills about making a will, call 0800 038 6677.
Ellie is a resident writer for Best Value Probate, covering topics such as Probate, wills and other legal proceedings.