A recent survey commissioned by the National Will Register asked members of the public whether they have made a Will, and if not, why they have not yet done so.
The survey found that only 44 per cent of adults in the UK have made a Will.
The reasons provided by respondents of the survey for not making a Will, listed from most common reason to least common, were as follows:-
- Failure of ‘getting around to it’.
- Feeling they do not have sufficient assets to warrant making a Will.
- Not knowing how to go about making a Will.
- Feeling their estate is too simple to justify the expense of making a Will.
- Finding the subject matter is too morbid.
If the respondents do not arrange for their own Wills to be drafted, for whatever reason, then they will be deemed to have died ‘intestate’ and as a result the intestacy rules will apply.
The rules of intestacy set out who will be responsible for administering the deceased’s estate and also direct how estates are to be distributed. The exact distribution that takes place will depend on the value of the estate and which family members who have survived the deceased.
Under the rules of intestacy, only married couples, civil partners, and certain closes relatives can inherit anything from the estate of the deceased.
Notably, the intestacy rules do not allow for cohabiting partners or non-family members to inherit anything from the deceased’s estate. The rules of intestacy may not always match with the wishes of the deceased. This is why it is very important to consider your wishes and have a Will drafted to ensure they are properly recorded.
The survey has also highlighted the increasing preference for the younger generation to make their Wills themselves online. The survey found that for those aged 18 to 24, 36 per cent made an online written Will, compared to 24 per cent who elected to use the services of a solicitor.
Failing to use a professional carries risk. This may mean that such Wills are held to be invalid if not properly executed. The terms of the Will may also be incorrect or result in additional tax being payable. The drafting may also be more susceptible to being challenged.