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Insights // 20 May 2020

What Proportion of Adults Do Not Have a Will? Our Findings

Partner Caroline Casagranda, in our leading Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts team, explains our recent research which found that more than half of UK adults aged over 35 in south east England do not have a Will, while explaining an increase in enquiries given the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

  • 52% of adults aged over 35 and living in south east England do not have a Will.
  • Nearly a quarter of those who did have a Will were unsure if it was up-to-date.
  • A Will is "a vitally important document”.
  • Increase in clients seeking to make or update their Will following COVID-19 pandemic.

Our research and findings

According to a recent survey conducted by Blandy & Blandy, 52% of adults aged over 35 and living in south east England do not have a Will.

Of the 2,000 people surveyed, 11% said that they did have a Will but they were unsure if it was up-to-date, while 37% confirmed that they had a current Will in place.

Perhaps more surprisingly, only one in four of those who did not have a Will said that this was something they actively planned to address in the next year.

The importance of making and updating your Will 

A Will is a vitally important document, to ensure that your personal affairs are taken care of and your loved ones' future interests are protected. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a large increase in enquiries related to making or updating Wills. We have also seen significant interest in putting Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) in place, something we routinely recommend that clients consider doing so that their wishes are taken into account should they become incapacitated.

Your Will should deal with the appointment of executors, responsible for administering your estate in accordance with your wishes, any funeral details, 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 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 own Property, may not consider making Wills until having a family or indeed later life but we would caution against this. According to the Office for National Statistics, on average men have children at 33, while women do so at 30, and the average first-time buyers 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.  The legislation does not cater for unmarried couples or family structures that do not meet the ‘norm’; for instance blended families.

How we can help

You may be looking to make or update your Will, perhaps due to a marriage or divorce, the arrival of children or grandchildren or a change in your circumstances. We can advise on both simple individual or mirror Wills (for couples) and 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.

Whilst the firm’s offices remain closed in line with the Government’s guidance, Blandy & Blandy continues to provide a full range of legal services to individuals, families and businesses, with lawyers and advisors working remotely.

Blandy & Blandy is recognised as a top tier firm of solicitors in the UK’s leading guides to law firms, Chambers High Net Worth Guide and The Legal 500.

Download our infographic PDF JPEG.

For further information or legal advice, please contact law@blandy.co.uk 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.

Caroline Casagranda

Caroline Casagranda

Partner, Wills, Probate Tax & Trusts

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