14th January 2011
NB A new 6-part BBC 2 programme called 'Can't take it with you' begins this evening discussing wills and estates www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00xk532
Nearly two-thirds of Britons do not have a will, despite recent surveys confirming that most people have a clear idea of who they want to receive their assets when they die.
A survey found that 62% of people admitted they did not have a will, rising to 70% among people who have young children under 18 years old.
This could leave many children in a vulnerable position. If there is no Will children are only entitled to inherit if there is no surviving spouse, or the estate is worth more than £250,000.
If a person dies without a will, meaning they are intestate, their assets are divided up in a strict order under current laws. If no-one comes forward to claim their estate it goes to the Crown.
Not having a will could also lead to inheritance tax being payable before assets in an estate can be released. This could mean that family members may have to take out a loan to pay the tax bill in order to obtain the assets they are due.
A high number of people do not have a will despite the fact that 92% of those questioned had a clear idea of how they wanted their assets to be divided up when they died.
Over 50% of those questioned said they would like to leave some assets to their children, and 69% said they would like to leave something to another relative.
75% of people who are married stated that they wanted to leave everything to their spouse, but under the current rules if they have no will in place their spouse would only receive the first £250,000 automatically.
40% of people who were not married said they would like to leave their assets to their partner, but unmarried couples have no right to benefit if there is no will in place.
Young people were the least likely to have written a will with 87% of under 35s not having one. This is despite the fact that their circumstances should encourage them to have a will in place, such as having young children, or co-habiting with a long term partner. But 36% of people aged over 55 still did not have a will in place.
Mundays can guide you through the steps of making a Will and advise you appropriately. Our breadth of experience enables us to provide flexibility in your Will. We pride ourselves on providing Wills that can adapt as the legislation and your personal circumstances change.
Mundays recommends that you should put a will in place to ensure that your estate passes according to your wishes, instead of relying on the law, which may not achieve what you want.
Oliver Morgan gives an update on EU citizens in the UK following Brexit negotiations last month
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Andrew Knorpel looks at the trouble "alternative facts" can get you in when used in lieu of the truth