'Apathetic' Brits ignoring wills

'Apathetic' Brits ignoring wills

More than half of the UK population is putting off making 'one of their most important financial decisions' due to apathy, research from a wealth manager has found. 

A survey from Tilney found 58 per cent of the British adult population does not have a will, with the most commonly cited excuse being "not getting around to it". 

While the percentage of people aged 18 to 24 without a will was the highest at 89 per cent, still some 27 per cent of respondents above the age of 55 said they had not made plans for their estate after their death. 

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Furthermore, 63 per cent of 45 to 54-year-olds admitted to not having made plans for their estate either. 

Ian Dyall, head of estate planning at Tilney, said: "There seems to be the perception that your estate will automatically go to whom you want upon your death. This is far from the truth."

Tilney warned the dangers of dying without a will, a situation known as intestacy, were great, as a person loses all control of where their estate ends up. 

The wealth manager had questioned 6,031 adults in mid-October through an online survey.

Some 32 per cent of respondents to Tilney’s survey said they did not think they had enough assets to be concerned with making such provisions.

Of those who did have a will, some 23 per cent said they would not review it, which again is a mistake, according to experts.

Dante Peters, chief investment officer at Magus Wealth, said many people were "woefully" underprepared.

He said: "It is not just about inheritance tax, it is about making sure the estate goes where you want it. It is your most important piece of financial planning."

Mr Peters said without a will people risked leaving an "absolute mess" for someone else to clear up, even if the estate is relatively small. 

He said although there were various options available when writing a will, he recommended visiting a specialist lawyer.

"They will ask you questions you might not have thought about," he said, adding that in estate planning there was no such thing as a "normal person".

Mr Dyall said: "While it is not a nice thing to have to think about, even young people can die, so drawing up a will is not just for the old or the wealthy – this is something that should be drawn up at a younger age and reviewed regularly. If you decide to wait, it may be too late."