Worrying majority of UK adults do not have a Will

A new study suggests that a worrying number of UK adults do not have a Will in place, and could be at risk of their estates being distributed solely according to intestacy laws following an unexpected death.

Research from financial services firm Unbiased has revealed that almost three quarters (72 per cent) of UK adults aged between 35 and 54 do not have a Will.

The situation is even worse among the younger generation, with a staggering 84 per cent of 18 to 34 year-olds not having a Will.

Overall, the study found that around three fifths of UK adults do not have a recognised Will in place, and are potentially running the risk of dying intestate.

For many families, this can pose a significant problem. This is because, if an individual dies without a Will in place, their estate will be passed on according to intestacy laws, which could mean that certain family members are disinherited, or even that the deceased’s entire estate passes to the Crown.

For example, if an individual is unmarried or has not entered into a civil partnership, and has no surviving relatives at the point of death, their entire estate will automatically be taken by the Government’s ‘Bona Vacantia’ department unless their Will specifies otherwise.

Intestacy laws are complex and confusing, but in short, the only way to ensure an estate will be passed on according to an individual’s specific wishes is to have a Will in place.

A water-tight Will can be set up by consulting a specialist solicitor for tailored legal advice.

Priti Shah, Partner in OGR Stock Denton’s Private Client team, said: “Not only does a professionally prepared Will mean that your estate passes to the intended recipients in a tax effective manner, a Will also ensures that you have appointed guardians of your choice to look after your minor children should something happen to you whilst they are still young.”

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