The fact that we don’t like to talk about death makes it very easy to overlook a will.
Most people don’t neglect their will intentionally. For some, it’s one of the less-pressing jobs that they’ll get around to eventually. For others, they don’t feel wealthy enough to make a will.
Whatever the reasons are, it has meant that we now live in a society where nearly 60% of people don’t have a will (Source: This Is Money). A will is an important task, and getting around to it sooner rather than later will protect your family from any additional stress and worry when you die.
Will Aid, a charity will writing scheme, has given people an extra reason to tick this errand off their ‘to-do’ lists in November, giving them a chance to protect the financial future of their family, and raise money for a good cause.
So, why is a will so important? And how can you make the most of Will Aid this November?
How many people have a will?
Writing a will is rarely a priority for younger people, as data from Prudential suggests that:
- 17% of people aged 19-34 have a will
- 68% of people aged 35-54 have a will
- 75% of over-55s have a will
Whilst it is promising that the likelihood of having a will increases with age, it is still concerning that one in four over-55s have yet to write one.
One of the main reasons given for not having a will is that people don’t feel wealthy enough, with one in five stating that they don’t have enough saved to make it worth their while. Many overlook the fact that their house makes up a significant portion of their estate. In fact, the average homeowner now has a property worth £214,000, up from £182,000 in 2014.
A lack of awareness of exactly how a will works is thought to be a major factor in the lack of urgency that many feel. This, combined with the general reluctance to talk about death at an early age, has left many families financially exposed should the worst happen.
Why do I need a Will?
A will tells people three important things:
- Who will be in charge of organising your estate and following your instructions (known as an executor)
- Who should have your money, property and possessions
- Who should be appointed a legal guardian for your children
Whilst many don’t feel wealthy enough to need a will, it is very uncommon for anybody to die without at least some form of material possession to their name. For those with children, a spouse or family members, a will ensures that your assets are passed down according to your wishes.
Without a will, your estate is divided in a predetermined way. These are called ‘rules of intestacy’, and may mean your assets benefit the wrong people in your eyes. For example, if you have been previously married, your current partner may not automatically inherit your estate.
A safe rule of thumb is to assume nothing.
Don’t put it off
Throughout the entire month of November, Will Aid is running an initiative that matches Solicitors with those in need of a will. The Solicitor forgoes their fee, and the client is invited to make a donation, that will benefit a number of charities, including:
- Age UK
- British Red Cross
- Christian Aid
- Save The Children
The suggested donation is £95 for a basic single will, or £150 for a pair of basic mirror wills. This not only represents good value for money, it raises funds and awareness for a number of good causes.
For more information, and to find a solicitor, visit the Will Aid website here.