Encouraging a nation to protect their assets

Research conducted by unbiased.co.uk has further highlighted the big problem the UK of not writing a will, an issue that is especially prevalent in younger generations.

The UK research advisory search website, unbiased.co.uk, has launched its annual ‘Write a Will Week’ earlier this month, along with revelatory data regarding the low numbers of wills being written nationwide.

The research that was recently conducted demonstrates how the least likely demographic to have written a will are those below the age of 70. The news that unbiased.co.uk brings is that it is never too early for will preparations to be made. Nobody wishes to think about their death, but enabling all adults to prepare for the worst should be at the forefront of the work of will writers, probate practitioners and other advisers. This is especially the case for when people are faced with the rules of intestacy, as many still believe that their estate will automatically be passed on as they wish. With the complexity involved in inheritance tax (IHT) and intestacy rules, all clients and even potential clients must be made aware that their assets may not ultimately end with the desired beneficiaries. Just these simple misconceptions could help you unlock masses of new business and could ultimately change the lives of so many people.

Alongside their data on the numbers of wills written, the research has uncovered further qualitative information regarding the reasons people give for not creating a will in the first place. Karen Barrett, Chief Executive of unbiased.co.uk has commented on the findings, stating that: “Writing a will clearly has significant emotional implications, so it’s likely that people delay doing it through a mixture of denial and simply not getting around to it.” Do you find it acceptable that many people still have this mindset — is there anything your practise is doing to proactively change this?

Interestingly, the research found that 17% of those polled believed that they did not have enough assets to make a will worthwhile. Age was also a factor in creating a will, with 44% of those under 30 stating they are leaving writing the document until later in life. For those in their sixties, that figure fell to 13%. However, with around 77% of those expected to leave money, with an average value of £42,208, arguably writing a will should be of a higher priority.

The findings also demonstrate the main reason for writing a will is to leave assets to help family, with 23% wanting to help their family live comfortably and 28% wanting to help their children, either in regard to property or tuition costs.

Caroline Wilden of Probate Solicitors in Solihull has commented on the issue of not creating a will. She states that it is quick and relatively inexpensive to create a solicitor drafted document and for the consumer ‘is the only way to ensure your wishes are carried out and your estate goes to whom you want it to.’

The investigation by unbiased.co.uk suggests that additional education and awareness of the legal implications of not preparing a will would be advantageous on a national scale. Information such as this demonstrates the continued need for campaigns such as ‘Write a Will Week’, highlighting them as invaluable resources in our society.

Do you think data such as what was found by unbiased.co.uk reflects a true national issue? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Today's Wills and Probate