Creating a will is admittedly, a depressing prospect. However, it is a necessity to ensure that one’s friends and families are amply supported after they pass away. Particularly throughout the pandemic, Britons have been made aware of the importance of having these documents in place. Indeed, recent research from YouGov indicated that although the vast majority (82%) of Britons believe it is vital to have some form of will in place yet, 59% do not actually have one in place.
Talking about what happens after one die can be difficult and people may prefer to shelve the estate-planning process until they become necessary. That said, there couldn’t be a more suitable time to get their affairs in order. First and foremost, many are not comfortable broaching the topic as to what happens after they die. The fact that Britons tend to err on the reserved side – 60% of UK adults, in fact does not matters.
Age also plays a factor in will avoidance. Indeed, 76% of people under the age of 35 believe that they are too young to create a will. However, creating a will early on can help individuals to make a head start when it comes to evaluating their estate in later life. It is also important to note that, if an individual dies without a valid will in place, their assets will be subjected to rigid intestacy laws. Intestacy laws rule that an individual’s assets are to be divided amongst their immediate family when they die. Alternatively, if an unmarried person with no immediate family dies without a will, their assets will be inherited by the crown.
The process of contesting these rules can be extremely taxing on close members of friends and family, adding some avoidable stress during an already difficult period. In any case, unmarried partners and close friends can claim that they are entitled to support under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act, but they should be aware that this process comes without any guarantees.
It is anticipated that there will always be a reluctance to broach the subject of wills amongst Britons. If the financial and legal sector make a conscious effort to improve access to information about wills, and indeed legal guidance in creating wills, hopefully, we will see more and more people being empowered to get their affairs in order. Andrew Megson is the Executive Chairman of My Pension Expert, the UK’s number one Advised Retirement Income Specialist. Founded in 2010, My Pension Expert specializes in providing independent advice to UK consumers about their pension plans. And it arranges millions of pounds worth of retirement income options each week.