Specialist Reveals Concerns Over Research
Wills dispute experts at Irwin Mitchell have revealed their concerns after new research showed a number of people throughout the UK are failing to consider the importance of making a Will.
Recent figures from bodies including Standard Life have highlighted that a large number of people of all ages, including those heading towards or beyond retirement, are yet to consider their plans for the future.
It has also been suggested that the main reason for people not making a decision about how their estates should be divided in the event of their death was simply that they had not got round to considering it.
Irwin Mitchell’s Will, Trust and Estate Disputes Team represents a number of clients who have faced difficulties as a result of their loved ones failing to prepare for what will happen to their assets after their death, as well as clients who want to stake a greater claim over the estate of a relative.
Adam Draper, a Wills dispute expert and associate solicitor on the team, said the findings of the research cannot be ignored.
He explained: “People cannot underestimate the impact that failing to prepare a proper, clear Will can have on their loved ones after they have passed away.
“If a person dies without a Will, i.e. intestate, their estate is distributed between relatives and loved ones in line with the Rules of Intestacy – which means only the closest family members of the deceased are likely to benefit.
“We regularly see cases where the wishes of someone who has died are not reflected by the Rules of Intestacy, particularly considering the complexity of today’s society and the rise in second marriages, civil partnerships and step families In addition under the Rules of Intestacy there is no scope to benefit a person’s close friends or preferred charities”
Discussing the benefits of writing a Will, Adam explained that it is the only way to ensure any dependents will benefit and avoid major legal difficulties in the future.
“Under the Rules of Intestacy there is no protection for unmarried co-habitees, and a partner may be forced to make a costly and protracted claim against the estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975,” he outlined.
“However, a properly advised and carefully considered Will can help to prevent such difficulties and ensure provision is made for the correct people. Another important issue worth considering is inheritance tax planning. Wills and or Trusts can be prepared to minimise the Inheritance Tax payable by an estate.
“Such issues, as well as the importance of making a Will, should not be taken lightly. I hope that the release of this research encourages people of all ages to assess their need to plan for the future and who they would want to provide for after their death.”