Is the UK sitting on an intestate time bomb?

10 September 2014

New research from Remember A Charity reveals that writing a Will may be a dying trend as almost four in ten over-50s admit to not having made a Will. This fact comes to light just as the intestacy law is set to be amended on 1st October. Currently, in the event of death, this could see the estates of more than 7.5 million people automatically being distributed contrary to the deceased’s wishes or, if there is no spouse, children or blood relatives, to the government.

The poll, of 2,000 over-50s was commissioned to mark the launch of the 2014 Remember A Charity Week (from 8 – 14 September) and explores attitudes towards Will writing. The purpose of the awareness week is to drive conversations about, and to highlight the importance of, leaving charitable gifts in Wills.

With death still a taboo topic; one in five of those polled (22%) say that they haven’t discussed their wishes with family or friends. Men find the subject harder to raise than women with a quarter (26%) not conveying their wishes compared with just under one in five (19%) women. Two out of three people polled (65%) wouldn’t be happy to discuss their wishes openly with family or friends.

Of those planning to write – or who have already written – a Will, almost a quarter (23%) reveal that after family and friends, they intend leave a gift to their favourite charity to help their invaluable work continue. Of those who said they’d leave a gift to charity one in four (24%) are aged 50-59.

Matters of Concern

Of those polled, one in seven (14%) were worried that they didn’t have anything of worth to leave to family or friends in a Will. Many people overlook personal items such as jewellery, artwork, furniture or a car, which in addition to savings, investments or property make up an estate.

Rob Cope, Director, Remember A Charity said: “Knowing these attitudes and misconceptions surrounding Will writing, it’s evident that the UK may be at risk of sitting on a intestate time bomb. Millions of people in the UK are at risk of their wishes being forgotten without a Will – with their legacy falling out of their hands.

“With gifts left in Wills worth more than £2billion to UK charities – the equivalent of almost 20 Comic Relief appeals – the intestate ticking time bomb puts their future at risk too. The hard truth is that many of our favourite charities simply wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for legacy donations. By writing a Will and leaving to charity within, no matter how big or small, you can ensure that good causes live on.”

James Antoniou, Head of Wills, The Co-operative Legal Services added: “By making a Will, you can ensure your loved ones are looked after even once you’re gone, alleviating unwanted stress for family and friends during what is already an incredibly difficult time. And, by leaving a gift to your favourite charity in your Will, you can also help to ensure that their invaluable work can continue.”

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