14% of the UK wrongly assume loved ones will automatically inherit after death

Michael Dickman, Fussell Wright

New research by charity will-writing scheme, Will Aid, has revealed 14% of people in the UK who haven’t made a will think their loved ones will automatically inherit when they die.

While the Rules of Intestacy will apply if someone passes away without a will, it does not mean their estate will be distributed in accordance with their wishes.

Michael Dickman, partner at Fussell Wright which raised £18,041 for Will Aid last year, said: “It’s a common misconception that a person’s estate will equally be shared with their loved ones when they die, but in reality this might not be the case.

“Getting a will is the best way to ensure your wishes are respected in the event of your death. Whether it is distributing your finances, property or naming a guardian for your children, a professionally written will is the best way to go.”

If a married person dies without a will, the Rules of Intestacy means their spouse will be provided for in part, but it may be more or less than expected.

However, the rules make no provision for unmarried couples, no matter how long they have been living together or if they have children.

The individual’s estate would likely be passed up to their parents if they are alive or alternatively to their siblings, which might well not be in accordance with their wishes.

Peter de Vena Franks, Campaign Director for Will Aid, said: “Will Aid helps people find local solicitors to draw up this incredibly important document, while supporting nine of the UK's best-loved charities.

“The 2021 campaign is now live and I strongly encourage people to take this opportunity to ensure their wishes are protected by getting a will.”

The survey also found 49% of people in the UK still don’t have a plan in place.

Will Aid takes place very November and sees participating solicitors waive the fee for writing a basic will. Instead, they ask clients to make a voluntary donation to Will Aid.

The suggested donation for a basic will is £100 and £180 for a pair of mirror wills, which is then shared between the campaign’s nine partner charities: ActionAid, Age UK, British Red Cross, Christian Aid, NSPCC, Save the Children, Sightsavers, SCIAF (Scotland) and Trocaire (Northern Ireland).

People are encouraged to find their local participating solicitor and book an appointment for November by calling 0300 0309 558 or visiting www.willaid.org.uk.