58% of UK adults don’t have a will

In October 2012 it was recorded that 28 million adults living in the UK have not made a will, which should cause concern as this leaves no guarantee that their assets will be moved on to whom they wish, but also could lead to them paying a larger inheritance tax as a result of no tax planning.

Regional variations

Topping the list as the most prepared region in the UK is the South East, yet this number is still less than half of all adults, with 49% having created a will.

Despite this lack of planning a large number (74%) of UK adults have expressed a wish to leave money to their loved ones once they pass away, with 56% wanting to leave jewellery and paintings to their next of kin. It was also revealed that 65% plan on leaving property averaging £199,000 to others.

Research has demonstrated that children and grandchildren will still remain the main beneficiaries of wills, with 36% of adults wanting to leave enough money to fund a large part of their futures. With tuition fees rising many want to help fund their grandchildren through university or to boost their children's/grandchildren's savings. Charities and pets also stand to benefit largely as many people request enough money be left for their pet to live comfortably once they have passed on. Yet without a will all of these benefactors could stand to gain nothing.

Without a will there is no certainty

Nearly a third of people who have not yet created a will have stated that they intend to at some point, yet have not gotten round to it, making procrastination the top reason people do not have a will. Other reasons include people arguing that they will create one once they are older, or that they believe they have nothing of value to leave to anyone else.

Surprisingly 11% of people believe that their property will pass on automatically to those they care about, yet this is not the case. Without a will the estate will be divided according to the rules of intestacy, this rule can exclude stepchildren or unmarried partners, causing a large amount of grief as they may have to prove their relationship ties to the recently deceased and putting further strain on them.

14% of adults in the UK have argued that they are worried about the high costs of creating a will when in fact the costs can be as low as £120 for a single person and £200 for a couple, it is best to contact a solicitor as soon as possible and discuss the costs that apply for the service.

Almost 7% of people stated they had no intention of leaving the money behind to anyone else and intended to spend it all before they passed away. While 8% of people over 55 stated they were superstitious that creating a will was tempting fate and they did not want to take the risk.

Inheritance tax, another factor you need to be aware of

If your estate exceeds £325,000 (single) or £650,000 (married) it will have passed the threshold for inheritance tax and it is worth taking some time to think about tax planning for your will. Yet a worryingly large number (42%) of people state they have not yet thought about the impact inheritance tax will have on what they have left behind and another 11% were unaware it would even make a change to their estate.

20% of the 39% who were actually aware of the impact of inheritance tax have ensured that they left assets as gifts to family during their lifetime to minimise the effect of tax, while another 15% have placed assets in a trust to minimise inheritance tax levels. Again it is helpful to contact a solicitor to discuss the best options in this situation.