The Reasons People Give Why They Don’t Have a Will

A will is often associated with the elderly, however the stress of living through a pandemic has meant we have seen a huge increase in new will enquiries and appointments as more and more people are thinking about making or updating their will.

A valid will is arguably one of the most important legal documents which an individual can execute, however recent research carried out by insurer Royal London pre COVID-19 suggested that 5.4 million adults in the UK did not have a current will.

Here are the top 5 reasons our Wills expert, Amye Aris, has heard from clients, friends and even family members as to why they have NOT got round to writing their will:

  • NO TIME TO SPEAK TO A SOLICITOR

Time is a big factor in putting off thinking about making a will. Many clients tell us that they had not got round to doing their wills before now, as they could never find the time to speak to or visit a solicitor to discuss their needs. In today’s virtual world of meetings over platforms such as Zoom or Skype there really is no excuse not to find the time to book an appointment to discuss your will and future Estate planning. We offer appointments out of hours, and even in the evenings. We will accommodate you and try to work around your work and family commitments.

  • WHO WOULD TAKE THE CHILDREN?

Clients tell us that they cannot decide who would act as legal guardian or who would take the children, if one or both parents with parental responsibility died before the children attain the age of 18. Often, they would rather not think about dying in the context of their children, so that puts them off making a will altogether and therefore nothing is ever done. I often hear from parents who have waited until their children reach 14 or 15, as they couldn’t agree on where the children will live, with whom etc.

The easiest way to appoint legal guardians to look after minor children after your death is via a will. Without such an appointment the Court may have to be involved. This would undoubtedly add to an already stressful and awful situation for any child having just lost one or more parent. Forward thinking and planning carried out now saves lots of hassle in deciphering your wishes for the children later.

  • I DON’T THINK I HAVE ANYTHING WORTH LEAVING

This is a common phrase we hear from clients. This mindset soon changes after we start discussing their assets and the values as part of the will-making process. Examples of assets that people commonly overlook are life insurance policies taken out by a spouse, death-in-service benefits through an employer, private or work pensions, or future family inheritance. We discuss the benefit of nominating beneficiaries directly to hold assets out of an estate and other future planning tools during the first initial meeting.

  • WON’T IT ALL GO TO MY SPOUSE ANYWAY?

The short answer is no, it won’t. There is a misconception that everything will automatically pass to a loved one and a will is therefore not necessary. However, without a will, the Rules of Intestacy apply. For married couples with children and an estate worth more than £270,000 their spouse or civil partner will receive their personal possessions, the first £270,000 and then half of the remaining estate. The children will receive the other half.

For unmarried cohabiting couples without a will the cohabiting partner will receive nothing from the Estate under the Rules of Intestacy.

This is often not what people would want, but without a will they have no say over how their estate is distributed.

  • I’D RATHER NOT THINK ABOUT MY DEATH!

Nobody really wants to think about death! A recent client told me that she passed our offices every day on the bus for a year before she plucked up the courage to ring me for an appointment. After we had talked it all through, she said to me “I wish I had done this a year ago, you’ve put my mind at such ease knowing I have left things in order for my loved ones when it’s my time”.

It is important to give some thought and consideration to a new will or updating an existing one and it doesn’t need to be a daunting experience. Call us today on 01908 542 677 or email amyearis@newleafsolicitors.co.uk to see how we can help you.