Partner Caroline Casagranda, in our leading Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts team, discusses our recent research findings in relation to the proportion of adults who have an up-to-date Will.
Shortly after the UK went into a national lockdown last March, research by financial consultancy deVere Group indicated that nationally demand for Wills had risen by 76% in the preceding fortnight.
As a firm, we have certainly seen a sustained increase in enquiries from clients related to areas including Wills and estate planning, Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) and sadly probate and estate administration throughout the past 12 months.
This January, Blandy & Blandy surveyed 2,000 adults aged over 35 and living in south east England.
Our findings showed that 54% did not have an existing Will in place. Of those who did have a Will, 15% were unsure if it was up-to-date. This figure was marginally higher than in our research last spring, when 52% of those surveyed did not have a Will.
However, perhaps as a result of the past year’s events, one third of those who did not have a Will said that this was something they actively planned to address in 2021, up from 25% in our findings last year.
The importance of having an up-to-date Will
A Will is an important document because it helps to ensure that your personal affairs are taken care of and that your loved ones' future interests are protected should anything happen.
Your Will should deal with the appointment of executors, responsible for administering your estate in accordance with your wishes, any funeral plans, the appointment of guardians and provision for any young children and any gifts or legacies you may want to leave to family, friends or good causes.
There are a number of key reasons that you may want to review and update your Will; for example due to a marriage or divorce, the arrival of children or grandchildren or a change in your circumstances. In certain situations, a Will can also become invalid.
What happens without a Will?
Many couples, including those who co-own property, may not consider making Wills until having a family or indeed later life but we would advise against this. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), on average men have children at 33, while women do so at 30, and the average first-time buyers in the UK are also 33.
If a person dies without a Will, their estate will be administered in accordance with the Intestacy Rules, meaning that their wishes may not be taken into account.
Only married or civil partners and some other close relatives can inherit under these rules. Legislation does not cater for unmarried (“co-habiting”) couples or less conventional family structures; for example, blended families.
How we can help
We can advise on simple individual or mirror Wills (for couples) as well as more complex Wills and estates, including those involving trusts, property or business interests and overseas assets. This includes providing advice in relation to tax efficient solutions and Inheritance Tax (IHT) or Capital Gains Tax (CGT) planning.
Blandy & Blandy is recognised as a top tier firm of solicitors in the UK’s leading guides to law firms, Chambers HNW Guide and The Legal 500.
For further information or legal advice, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0118 951 6800.
This article is intended for the use of clients and other interested parties. The information contained in it is believed to be correct at the date of publication, but it is necessarily of a brief and general nature and should not be relied upon as a substitute for specific professional advice.