Figures released recently by Citizen’s Advice showed a sharp increase in the number of queries regarding intestate estates, due to the deceased not leaving a Will.
The figures have more than doubled over the past five years, with 1,522 queries in 2011 rising to 3,474 in 2015. However, these figures may not come as much of a surprise with a recent YouGov survey revealing that around two thirds of British adults do not have a Will.
Although there was a slight increase in the number of adults with a Will between 2014 and 2015, only 38% of the public have created one. If someone dies without a valid Will in place, intestacy rules dictate how their money, property or possessions should be distributed.
These legal regulations will divide the estate in a pre-determined way and, even if the person is married, in a civil-partnership or have step-children, assets may not automatically be distributed to the family members that expect to inherit them. If there are no surviving relatives who can inherit under the rules of intestacy, the estate passes to the Crown.
Tom Curran, Chief Executive at estate administration specialist Kings Court Trust said: “People may assume that a Will is only beneficial for those in later life or not in good health. However, regardless of your personal circumstances it is important to plan ahead, particularly if you own a property or have savings, investments, insurance policies or own a business. There are also numerous benefits to having a Will, from ensuring you leave an inheritance to family and friends, to potentially reducing the amount of Inheritance Tax that may be payable on your estate.
We would always advise members of the public to have their Will written by an experienced professional. By ensuring that your Will is clearly and professionally written, your estate can be dealt with in line with your wishes as smoothly as possible. Ensuring that your wishes are clearly articulated reduces the likelihood of disagreements between beneficiaries which can delay the distribution of the estate and cause great stress to the family members at an already difficult time.”
For more information on our comprehensive estate administration service, visit www.kctrust.co.uk or contact us on 0300 303 9000.