An expert is warning of the importance of making a Will to ensure financial security for loved ones.
Law Society figures show that 73 per cent of 54-year-olds do not have a Will. In 2010, Government statistics show that 60 per cent of those who died left no Will.
Dying without a Will is known as dying intestate – and means that the State will decide who inherits what. Christopher Crichton-Rankin, consultant at Ludlow Wealth Management Group, explains that in some cases this does not cause an issue, with the next of kin inheriting.
However, Christopher warns that in many cases, particularly where extended family is involved, or separated couples who have started new families, the result can be heartache and financial uncertainty.
He said: “There are real financial risks associated with failing to make a Will. Many people make the assumption that if they die without one, their nearest and dearest would simply inherit everything.
“They fail to realise the cold reality of the intestacy laws. For instance, the partners of people who are not married, or in a civil partnership, cannot inherit without a Will. Their children may receive everything while they are passed over.
“Even if the deceased leaves behind a husband, wife or civil partner, without a Will the survivor may not inherit their entire estate. If the estate is worth more than £250,000, half the remainder is automatically distributed amongst their children, or kept in trust for young children until they reach 18.
“People who die single can find their assets go to distant relatives they may not even have a relationship with.
“The only way for people to retain firm control over their assets and who they go to when they die is to make a Will clearly setting out their intentions. Making a Will can also be a good way of mitigating an inheritance tax liability.
“Even those who have a Will in place should not rest on their laurels. Every time there is a significant change in circumstances, such as the birth of a child or death of someone who would have inherited, a Will should be reviewed to ensure it is up-to-date.
“This is also a good time to review any life insurance policies or serious illness cover to ensure it remains sufficient for your needs.”