Many of us don’t like to think about what will happen after we’re gone, and that’s perfectly understandable. But it’s really important to overcome this psychological hurdle if our wishes are to be carried out and our loved ones get the inheritance they deserve.
According to new figures from the National Will Register, more than four in ten adults haven’t yet spoken to anyone about what should happen to their estate when they pass away.
A quarter of people said this is because they find the subject too morbid to think about, while almost one in five admitted they simply weren’t concerned about what happens to death.
Interestingly, even people aged over 55 are apparently reluctant to discuss this issue, with three in ten people in this age group not having spoken to anybody about their estate.
Similarly, almost half of those polled said their parents hadn’t discussed any instructions or details or a will, and only a third said their parents had informed them where a will could be found.
Of course, the simple reluctance to discuss or think about death is at the heart of this issue, but there will be many other factors influencing these worrying trends.
For example, many people who cohabit but aren’t married may have mistakenly assumed that if they die without a will, everything will automatically go to their partner, when in fact it would go to their closest living blood relatives.
As a recent study from the Women and Equalities Committee showed, 46 per cent of people in England and Wales wrongly believe that cohabitants living together form a common law marriage, automatically gaining rights equal to a marriage or civil partnership.
Others, meanwhile, simply assume they don’t need to have a will. The National Will Register survey found that nearly one in three people don’t believe they have enough assets to warrant making one, and one in ten felt their estate was too simple.
All this suggests that much more needs to be done to educate people about estate planning, as they can end up making costly mistakes that don’t reflect their actual wishes.
More effort to show people how to make a will could also be necessary, as a staggering one in ten said they didn’t know how to go about it.
How many people have a will?
Figures from the National Will Register show that just 44 per cent of adults in the UK have made a will.
Notably, men were found to be more likely to have a will in place than women (50 per cent of males, compared with 39 per cent of females).
Similarly, men were also more likely to be willing to discuss what happens to their estate. Some 62 per cent of men were found to have raised the issue with their loved ones, compared with just 55 per cent of women.
Two-fifths of those who haven’t yet made a will said they just hadn’t got around to making one yet.
But sadly, we can never be sure when we’ll pass away and how quickly that will might be needed.
You really shouldn’t delay getting your affairs in order, so you can be confident that your wishes will be carried out and your loved ones will be well cared for, if the unthinkable happens.
If you want any advice on making a will, estate planning and managing your wider financial affairs, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
Our professional, regulated specialists will be happy to discuss these important issues with you, so you can be properly set up for the future.