RESEARCH carried out by Safestore has revealed that 31% of people aged 55 and over do not have a Will and as a result, may be risking inheritance for future generations.
Out of 31% of adults aged 55 and over who do not have a Will:
– 12% have children in their household
– 16% are separated or divorced
– 48% admit they ‘haven’t got round’ to writing one
– 18% feel that they don’t have anything of value to leave behind
– 12% believe that all assets would go to a partner regardless
‘Wills are essential life documents which really ought to be in place well before you reach 55. It is concerning that so many 55+ year-olds have not taken the time to complete one, especially where there are children or marital issues involved’ says Simon Crooks, a solicitor and specialist in tax and estate planning with Argo Life & Legacy Ltd.
‘Without a Will you lose the opportunity to express your wishes as to what happens with your assets and who sorts it all out when you die… You get to choose the people who will manage your affairs on death and they have power to act straight away. If you have younger children you can appoint people as Guardians to be responsible for their upbringing and welfare. One of the key benefits is spending time considering surrounding issues – retirement plans, tax planning, care fee planning, policies and pensions. Not having a Will often means none of these issues have been considered which can cause problems in the future’.
The results also indicate that a vast majority of people do not understand intestacy rules as without a will, if you are separated but not divorced from your spouse they are legally entitled to most, if not all of your estate. Similarly, those who are married and assume that their estate will go to their spouse are technically correct, however without a legal document in place there are numerous complications.
People often think they will review their Will after a divorce is finalised – when they know what their financial position will actually be. But what happens if you die before this is sorted? You’re stuck with the Will already in place or the Intestacy Rules and your soon to be former spouse inherits some or all of your estate. It is best practice to write a new Will as soon as you can and review it when the divorce is complete.