Fewer than 4 in 10 adults in the UK have made a Will. This has come as a surprise to experts, who predicted that the global pandemic would encourage greater awareness and action around Wills and estate planning.
Although the number of adults with a Will increases with age, for example 79% of over 65s and 57% aged between 55 and 64 are reported to have one, the main driver for those choosing not to make a Will is because they don’t think they have anything of value to pass on, despite one in six owning a property.
People aged over 55 without a Will, 16% own a home either outright or with a mortgage.
Dying without a Will presents many challenges to bereaved families as the intestacy rules often don’t reflect the wishes of the person. Cases where married and civil partners inherit cutting children and other intended beneficiaries out of the inheritance are all too common.
While dying intestate can cause problems such as the inadvertent disinheritance of close family members and relations, when it comes to probate property the complications become even greater. For example, houses can become unsellable while trying to track down relatives.
In a case looked at by Which? a man was tracked down by heir hunters after the death of a distant cousin. While he stood to inherit a house, during the three months it had taken to find him the house had completely devalued due to vandals and mould that had caused thousands of pounds worth of damage.
Other issues arise in cases of jointly owned property, but not just traditional family homes, holiday homes owned by a group of people can fall foul of intestacy rules. If someone in the group dies, their share will pass to their family rather than the ownership group of friends, as it might not have been intended. The Will ensures that there are no ambiguities for the wishes of the deceased when it comes to any kind of property.
For those that have made the number one reason for doing so was “peace of mind”, 67% of people state this was the main driver behind their decision.
These services can also remove the hassle and worry of selling a probate home by transacting within extremely short timeframes, meaning that relations can benefit quickly,.
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