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‘Will’ 47 million people in the UK get it wrong?

Latest research reveals that 90 per cent of the UK’s adult population have not made a Will.

Simply ‘not getting around to it’ is the number one reason more than half of respondents gave as to why they haven’t yet drawn up a Will in a recent survey conducted by accountants Armstrong Watson - even though this could leave their loved ones in severe financial difficulties in the event of their death.

Over 80 per cent of respondents didn’t understand the legalities of a Will and wrongly believed that assets would automatically go to their next of kin if they died. Amazingly nearly a quarter of the adults questioned believe they are ‘far too young’ to think about drafting a Will.

“This is a worrying statistic and people are really opening themselves up to a bureaucratic nightmare by not planning ahead. Thinking about a Will may seem quite a morbid subject as none of us like to think about our mortality but people thinking that they are too young to have a Will is crazy! We all know that death can happen at any age.” said Paul Dickson, head of financial planning at Armstrong Watson.

“But realistically it is the only way to ensure your financial wishes will be adhered to and I’m sure most people don’t want to leave their nearest and dearest with financial problems when they are trying to come to terms with the death of a loved one.

“Dying without leaving a Will - commonly termed as being ‘intestate’ - is not a smart option. For example in today’s society more and more couples are choosing to buy a property and live together without getting married. If one person dies without leaving a Will the rules of intestacy apply and it does not recognise ‘common law’ partners. In turn this means the deceased’s family has more right to their share of the property than the surviving partner.”

Wills needn’t be expensive, complex or hard to arrange and an experienced financial consultant will be able to take you through the process and put your mind at rest. A Will is a legally binding document; remember that telling people of your wishes does not guarantee that they will be put into place after your death unless they are included in your Will.

Paul added: “For people who own their own property having a Will has become even more important over recent years as the average house price across the UK has risen sharply. If people have a property and a few other assets it’s more than likely they have stepped over the £300,000 inheritance tax threshold. Therefore a Will becomes a crucial part of inheritance tax planning.

“Death without a Will would result in the part of the estate over the first £300,000 being immediately threatened by 40% inheritance tax. Currently over £3billion of inheritance tax goes to the Treasury every year due to a lack of financial planning for the future.”

An overview of the Rules of Intestacy

The scenario:

I have a lawful spouse (i.e. you are legally married)

If your estate is worth less than £125,000 then your spouse receives everything. If your estate is worth more than £125,000 and you had no other surviving relative (eg children, grandchildren, parents), then your spouse receives the entire estate

I have a lawful spouse, plus children

If your estate is worth less than £125,000 then your spouse receives everything. If your estate is worth more than £125,000 then your spouse would receive £125,000 and a life interest (i.e. the right to take interest on the remainder, but not the capital itself) in half of anything over this sum. Your children would receive half the sum over £125,000 immediately and be entitled to the other half on the death of your spouse. Should any of your children die before you then their children would be entitled to take their parent's share.

I have a lawful spouse, no children, but parents/brothers/sisters/ grandparents/aunts/uncles

If your estate is worth less than £200,000 then your spouse receives everything. If your estate is worth more than £200,000 then your spouse receives £200,000, plus half the balance. The remaining half goes to the other relatives in this order of priority – parents, brothers/sisters, half brothers/sisters, grandparents, aunts/uncles, spouses of aunts/uncles.

I’m not lawfully married, but have had children

Your estate will be shared between the children. Should they die before you then their children would take their share.

I’m not lawfully married, have no children, but have parents or have brothers/sisters/grandparents/aunts/uncles

Your estate will be shared equally amongst them in this order of priority – parents, brothers/sisters, half brothers/sisters, grandparents, aunts/uncles, spouses of aunts/uncles.

If any of these have predeceased, but have living children then the children will take their parent's share.

I’m not lawfully married, and have no other relatives
Your estate will go the Crown.

It should be noted that the rules on intestacy do not recognise "common law" partners, and that "children" includes natural, adopted and illegitimate children, but excludes step-children.

For more information about how you can plan for your family’s future contact financialplanning@armstrongwatson.co.uk. Armstrong Watson also has a specialist Islamic Wills adviser. For more information, email islamicwills@armstrongwatson.co.uk

-ends-

Notes to Editors:

Armstrong Watson spoke to 1,000 people across the UK in employment between the ages of 18 – 65 during August 2007.

Armstrong Watson is one of the leading independent providers of accountancy, business and financial advisory services to owner managed businesses across the North.

The firm has 15 offices throughout the north of England and South West Scotland, has 36 partners and employs 380 staff in a variety of specialist divisions such as: Business Enterprise Services, Business & Personal Tax, VAT, Corporate Services, Corporate Finance, Payroll, Insolvency & Corporate Recovery, Agriculture, Computer Solutions and Office Equipment, Financial Planning and Wealth Management.

Armstrong Watson is registered to carry out audit work by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

A 2007 survey by Accountancy Age has ranked Armstrong Watson as 27th in a list of the UK’s top 50 accountancy firms.

To visit the Armstrong Watson website go to: www.armstrongwatson.co.uk.

Issued on behalf of Armstrong Watson by Danielle Bishop at Beattie Communications.

Contact:
Danielle Bishop on 0113 213 0303 or Annemarie Robson on 07795 470394.

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Beattie Communications(Leeds) in the following categories: Men's Interest, Women's Interest & Beauty, Personal Finance, Public Sector, Third Sector & Legal, for more information visit http://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.