£1 trillion worth of assets “at risk” in out of date Wills
A shocking one in three Wills in the UK is out of date, leaving over £1 trillion of assets at risk of ending up in the wrong hands, according to new research.
A report commissioned by Remember A Charity titled When WILL You Change Yours? reveals that 29% of people with a Will admitted it is out of date and intend to change it. And with the amount left in Wills now averaging £160,000, up to £1.1 trillion (equivalent to two-thirds of the UK’s GDP in 2011) could fail to reach the intended recipients. Staggeringly 70% of the UK population have not made a Will!
The West Midlands topped the list when it came to out of date Wills, with 48% of people surveyed saying their Wills needed to be updated compared with just 22% in the East Midlands and Wales. The report also highlighted strong regional differences in Will making. 53% of people in Scotland have made a Will, the highest in the UK, whilst only 39% of people in the West Midlands have done so.
Peter Watts, Solicitor & founder of glossLegal said, “Everyone should write a Will and ensure that it’s up-to-date by reviewing it periodically. The major lift events which should prompt a Will or review are marriage, separation, divorce, the birth of a child, a death in the family, or cohabiting”.
“I’ve sadly experienced many instances over the years where a valid Will wasn’t in place and the consequences have often been severe with the estate not being divided up as you would have wished, and the beneficiaries sometimes ending up with an entirely avoidable tax bill.”
A previous Will is automatically revoked in the event of marriage or a civil partnership in England and Wales, for example. In the case of divorce or the dissolution of a civil partnership, a bequest to a spouse would no longer be valid and fall back to the estate. Equally, children born after a parent has written a Will do not automatically become beneficiaries.
The UK is incredibly charitable with 75% of us regularly giving to charities in our lifetimes but only 7% of us currently leave charitable donations in our Wills. Nevertheless gifts in Wills are vital to many charities in this country, contributing around £2 billion every year.