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Legal News

Survey prompts warning for adults without a will (8 August 2018)

Date: 08/08/2018
Duncan Lewis, Legal News Solicitors, Survey prompts warning for adults without a will

The Kings Court Trust (KCT) commissioned a survey, conducted by YouGov, to assess more than 2,000 adults living in the UK to look at how will drafting has changed in recent years. The results of the survey reveal that more than 60% of UK adults do not have a will.

Caroline Roche, a specialist Wills & Probate solicitor, explains that the majority of will instructions she receives are from elderly clients or those suffering from life limiting illnesses. This makes the assumption that many are waiting for a triggering event to push them to have a will made. These can include the birth of the next generation, a marriage, recent death of a loved one, or a change in financial circumstances. Significantly, parents are more likely to have a will than those of the equivalent age without children; however parents with children under 18 are less likely to have a will in place. Notably, however, only 26% of households with children have a will.

Caroline confirms that she rarely receives instructions from young couples who have recently married and/or had children. Of the 18-24 age bracket, only 8% profess to have a will. Perhaps even more surprising, 29% of people over 55 profess not to have a will.

It is important to remember when seeking to draft your will that though the methods of attaining a will have increased in number; the regulation of these services is still yet to catch up fully.

It is important to note that those that are seeking help from seemingly reputable professional sources to draft their will may be putting themselves in danger of leaving themselves and their loved ones vulnerable. The risk being that the will could prove invalid, and this may only be discovered after the testator’s (the person who has made a will) death.

Frequently Caroline is instructed by clients who have attempted to draft a DIY will using a downloadable pack. The problem is that you have no way of being sure that the will is valid, and if not, it cannot be upheld when you die. This can be extremely stressful for your family and beneficiaries, who will be required to submit other means of evidence which convey the testator’s intentions to a court.

Caroline is also often contacted by clients who previously instructed a will writer or other non-professional who claimed to have the relevant qualifications for will drafting. In this case, they will inevitably be required to go through the process once more to allow Caroline to amend and reproduce the will according to regulation.

There are many out there who have instructed a will drafter because the service offers a competitive cost. Only 35% of people appear to be choosing will writing services that are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) or the Society of Will Writers. This is most worrying as mistakes with wills can be costly. If a will has not been properly drafted by unregulated service, there is little to no recourse, which means you will have no legal protection.

Instructing a solicitor can offer greater protection in that regard. The most prudent approach for anyone considering making a will is to instruct a specialist solicitor. Caroline reminds that it is important to make a will before a triggering event such as illness. You will be reassured to know that solicitors are regulated by the SRA. This means that there would be recourse in the event that your will proves invalid, protecting yourself, as the testator, whilst you are alive, and the beneficiaries of your will, after you have passed.

It is for the above reasons that you should instruct a solicitor to either make a will, if you have not already done so, or to review the will you currently have, to ensure any change in circumstances have been updated accordingly.

Caroline Roche, is a solicitor and Director in the wills and probate department at Duncan Lewis. Her specialist experience includes, drafting complex wills; advising on inheritance tax due from an estate; gathering the estate when a loved-one has passed; dealing with both taxable and non-taxable estates, handling the affairs when a loved-one has died without a will.

Duncan Lewis Wills & Probate Department

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