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Research shows the majority of adults in the UK do not have a Will

The Royal London Mutual Insurance Society has published research which shows that over half (54%) of UK adults do not have a Will and around 5.4 million admit to having no idea where to begin when it comes to writing one.

According to the research 24% of those who do not have a Will have no intention of making one, although 34% did say if they became ill they may be encouraged to do so.

Of those who do have a Will, almost a third (31%) of them have experienced a significant life event such as buying a house, getting married or having children, but over half (54%) had not updated their Will to reflect the change. It is important to do this as for example, getting married normally invalidates a Will made previously.

It may be that some people do not have a Will because they believe they do not need one, however this research shows an alarming number of people who do not have a Will because they do not understand the process of how to write one.

If you do not have a Will and you die, your estate will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy. These rules provide a framework for which of your relatives inherit.

Broadly speaking this means your estate will be inherited by your spouse or your spouse and children depending on the value of the estate, or your children if you do not have a spouse, or your parents if you have no spouse or children, or failing this, your siblings. One advantage of having a Will is you can broadly control who inherits what out of your estate. You may also be able to distribute your estate more efficiently from a tax perspective.

Top tip Ask a solicitor for advice when drafting your Will.

According to the research, the most popular way to go about drafting a Will was to use a solicitor with 68% of people having used legal assistance. Sykes Anderson Perry can advise you on drafting your Will and the options available to you.

For advice on Private Client matters, please contact Nicole Gallop Mildon, Head of Private Client.