12:27 PM, 12th November 2010, About 11 years ago 1
More than 30 million people in the UK do not have a will – even though nine out of 10 have a good idea who should inherit their wealth when they die.
Children under 18 are most likely to suffer from financial problems if something should happen to their parents, as 70% of adults with children do not have a will.
But inheritance rules only provide for children not named in a will if there is no surviving spouse of the deceased or if the estate is worth more than £250,000.
Despite this, over half (57%) of those without a will would like to leave some assets to their children and 69% would like to leave some assets to another relative.
Terms of a will do not only involve who inherits property and cash, but also who looks after children if both parents should die before the children are 18.
Couples living together also face inheritance issues if one partner dies without a will.
Over a third (38%) of those who aren’t married would like to leave their assets to their partner after they die, but unmarried couples have no right to inherit at all if there is no will in place.
This could mean unnecessary financial hardship for an unmarried spouse and their children.
A married partner only automatically inherits £250,000 if there is no will in place.
Dying without a will – legally called ‘intestate’ – means there is a strict order of who gets what, and if no one comes forward then everything goes to the Crown.
Not having a will could also result in paying a large inheritance tax (IHT) before the estate is released, so a grieving family may have to take out expensive loans to release the assets.
Most do not have a will saying they have not had the time (36%), while 8% have never thought they need a will and 18% do not consider they have anything of value to leave.
The figures come from a survey promoting ‘Write a Will’ week.
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