The majority of UK adults do not have a will

More than half of UK adults have not written a will, according to the most recent data from the IFA and solicitor search engine, Prudential and Unbiased.co.uk. This is further to last year’s findings previously reported on Today’s Wills & Probate, which revealed nationwide figures of completed wills were low especially among the younger generations.

Fresh data has now revealed that the older age groups (over 55s) saw a 6% fall in will completion compared to last year. For the adult population as a whole, the figures indicated 59% have neglected to formally disclose the distribution of their assets following death.

At 67% and 64% respectively, those least likely to have made arrangements were in the North West and London, despite the latter being likely to own the most expensive property. The most prepared at the opposing end of the scale were the North East at 46% having completed a will, with the South West closely behind at 45%.

Qualitative reasons for a lack of will being written varied, with the most popular response (23%) being simply that they were postponing the task until they increased in age. 16% felt they lacked wealth to be in need of a will and 13% said the concept of writing one had never occurred. A smaller 11% portion believed their assets would simply go to the right person when they did eventually die.

Recent growth in house prices has resulted in the amount of money passed on through property increasing by over £32,530 over the past two years. Moveable asset value being passed on has, however, fallen with commodities such as heirlooms and jewels falling from £23,000 in 2015 to £18,200 this year.

Karen Barrett, Chief Executive at Unbiased.co.uk expressed concern at the recent findings: “Overall, fewer people have a will in place this year than in previous years. When we look at the breakdown of what people expect to leave – which in the majority of cases is property – this drop in will-making is a concern. Property prices have gone up over the last year, and we can see from this data that the anticipated property value that people expect to leave behind has increased. It’s worrying that despite this people are still not taking steps to ensure their final wishes are adhered to.”

The findings come alongside part of the Tax Action campaign which outlines the level of unnecessary tax paid on an annual basis. £595 million in inheritance tax this last year was found to have been potentially avoided had appropriate financial planning been present.

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