In the most recent study conducted in September 2020, 59% of UK adults have not written a Will, which amounts to around 31 million UK adults. Whilst everyone is different and has their own reasons for not doing so, there are some common reasons why people have not yet put a Will in place that seem to come up time and time again.
This blog aims to set out the most common reasons why people put off making a Will and the truth behind each of these reasons, in the hope that this will alleviate some of the worry and unknown surrounding this subject and encourage you to take the first step in making a Will.
“It’s too complicated to think about and I don’t know where to start”
As is human nature, when something seems too complicated, we put off doing it and making a Will is no different. When it comes to Wills, people often “don’t know where to start” which, unfortunately, results in the first step never being taken. Below is a bullet point list of some of the information that you will typically need to think about in order to start the process:
- Do you have any special wishes for your funeral?
- Who would you like to be responsible for collecting in all of your assets and distributing them to your beneficiaries (known as your ‘Executor(s)’)?
- If you have any children, who would you like to be responsible for taking care of them in the event you were to pass away?
- Would you like to leave any possessions to anyone in particular?
- Who would you like to leave an inheritance to? This can include a cash gift of a specific amount, or simply ‘everything’ to one person, or a group of people; your spouse or children, for example.
- If an intended beneficiary were to pass away before you, who would you like to inherit their share?
As you can see, once broken down, you will usually be able to form answers to the above questions fairly quickly and often without too much thought. Of course, there may be more things that you need to consider, however, if you have answers to these questions, you have the foundations needed to start your Will writing process.
“It’s too expensive”
This is one of the most common reasons why people put off drafting a Will and having a Will is often seen as a ‘luxury’. Having a valid Will in place is, however, just as important as getting your car insured or wearing a seatbelt and is therefore far from a ‘luxury’ that you can take or leave.
Not putting in place a Will could cost your estate more money in Inheritance Tax and any claims by beneficiaries who may not have been provided for under the intestacy rules (see below). The price of making a Will is, therefore, a small price to pay for ensuring that the value of your estate is protected for your loved ones.
At Roythornes, we understand that cost is an important issue for many of us, especially considering the current economic climate. We are therefore transparent about the cost of putting in place a Will so that you do not have any surprises or hidden costs.
“I don’t have anything worth leaving to anyone”
It is usually younger people who have this view and are often of the belief that only the most wealthy of people need a Will. This is untrue. The truth is, if you own anything at all in your own name, have a specific person in mind whom you would like to leave something in particular to, or even a specific person whom you do not wish to inherit anything you own, you should consider putting in place a Will.
You should therefore put in place a Will regardless of the value of your estate, however it is often the case that, once you begin to make a list of your assets including your bank accounts and savings, car, any share you may own in a property and your personal property, you will end up owning more than you thought.
“I don’t want to think about dying”
This is a common reason why people do not put in place a Will and it is easy to see why; no one wants to think about their own mortality, especially when we are still young. It is a sensitive subject for many and often seen as ‘taboo’. In other words, if this is the reason you are putting off making a Will, you are certainly not alone.
Perhaps a better way of thinking about making a Will is not about death, but instead about protecting and providing for the people you love and putting in place a well-drafted Will is the only way to ensure this; you may even find that writing a Will gives you piece of mind and comfort that you have secured your loved ones’ futures. Even if this is not true for you, many clients feel as though, once the Will has been put in place, this is a ‘weight off their mind’ and this is often because, although not a nice thing to think about, some of the worry that comes with thinking about death is the knowledge that they should have put a Will in place but have not.
If thinking about death is something you find distressing, please do let us know when we take your initial instructions. Our experienced team will be happy to assist and put your mind at ease.
“All of my assets will go to my partner automatically”
The short answer to this is “not necessarily”. It is a myth that, in the absence of a Will, a person’s estate will simply pass to those that it makes sense to receive it, including a spouse or a person you are cohabiting with. The truth, however, is that if you were to pass away without leaving a Will, you are said to have died ‘intestate’, which means that your estate will be dealt with in accordance with the intestacy rules. This may mean that the people you wanted to inherit may not and people that you do not want to inherit, do. Relying on the intestacy rules may therefore not result in an outcome you would like and, in the worst-case scenario, an outcome you are actively unhappy with. The rules of intestacy can also be seen as not allowing for modern family set-ups, which is why it is especially important to put in place a Will so that you can be sure that your estate passes to people in accordance with your wishes. If you would like any advice on the intestacy rules, please get in touch with our specialist team, who will be happy to help.
In summary, there are many reasons why people may put off making a Will, however, it is nonetheless an essential part of any estate plan not limited to the reasons set out in this blog. Should you require any assistance with putting in place a Will, please do get in touch with our experienced Private Client team.