According to recent research half of the adults in the UK do not have a will.
The study, based on a sample of 2,000 adults, also found that a third (33%) of those aged 55 and over have yet to make a will.
So, why are so many people avoiding this important piece of life admin?
Perceived Lack of Wealth: Approximately 24% of respondents believed that they didn’t possess enough assets or wealth to warrant making a will. This is often a misconception based on what they believe to be of value and until assessed may prevent them from identifying their true assets.
Assumption of Automatic Inheritance: Surprisingly, 17% of respondents believed that their loved ones would automatically inherit their wealth without the need for a will. This misconception can lead to unintended consequences and unfortunate rather painful family disputes.
Procrastination: 15% admitted to believing they had plenty of time to make a will, often postponing it indefinitely. Getting around to it is also admitting that at some point you will not be around to procrastinate any longer, a thought many of us struggle to come to terms with.
Lack of Knowledge: 14% of respondents cited not knowing how to write a will as a reason for not having one.
Considering these findings, it’s important to understand that making a will is far easier than many people think. Regardless of your age or financial status, it’s never too soon to start planning.
Wouldn’t now be a good time to take a positive step and get around to making that will?
You can begin by listing your assets and specifying your wishes regarding their distribution.
Additionally, leaving a charitable legacy in your will can offer significant tax benefits.
Charitable donations are exempt from inheritance tax, reducing the overall value of your estate (subject to taxation). This can also lower the inheritance tax rate on assets passing to non-exempt beneficiaries from 40% to 36%. You can even specify a particular purpose for your charitable legacy, ensuring that your wishes are respected.
If you haven’t made a will yet or would like to review your existing one, consider reaching out to a specialist wills, trusts, and probate team for guidance. They can help you draft a will that aligns with your intentions and supports charitable causes you care about.
Making a will is a crucial step in securing your assets and ensuring your loved ones are taken care of according to your wishes. Don’t let misconceptions or procrastination hold you back. Start the new year by making a resolution to look after the long-term future of your loved ones. [Survey undertaken by Canada Life April 2023]
Partner & Head of Department, Sherborne
Senior Associate Solicitor, Bath
Senior Associate FCILEX, Wells