It's estimated that 60% of British adults don't have a will, which means that more than 30 million are in danger of dying intestate.
The most common reason people give for not writing a will is that they're planning to do it later, according to researchers. A further 20% of those questioned for the survey didn't think they had enough assets to make writing a will worthwhile, while others thought getting one drawn up would be too expensive. And it's not only younger people who put off making a will - three quarters of the 35 to 54 age group have not had a will written despite having dependents and financial commitments to consider.
Under the laws of intestacy in the UK, only spouses, civil partners and other close relatives can inherit, which means if you're co-habiting without a will, your estate may go to a distant cousin rather than the one you love. If you have step-children or children from previous relationships, they could end up receiving nothing.
You can use your will to tell people about your wishes, such as who should look after dependent children in the event of your death. You can also express your wishes regarding your funeral, burial or cremation, along with information such as what should happen to family pets.
Having a will can also help reduce the amount of inheritance tax payable on the value of the property and money you leave behind. For more information on the current rates, read our blog on inheritance tax.
If your family is small and you want to leave everything to them, making your will should be a straightforward process, but more complicated family situations, such as those where trusts or overseas properties are involved, require careful planning.
Many people are unaware that accountants, as well as solicitors, are able to help clients draw up a will. It's important to choose an accountant who specialises in probate (the right to deal with a deceased person's estate).
Here at Perrys, we have a highly-qualified and accredited team of accountants with a great deal of experience in probate and inheritance tax issues. If you're thinking of writing a will, please don't hesitate to get in touch. We'll arrange for an informal, confidential initial conversation with an expert from one of our seven branches in Kent or central London.
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