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Three out of four Brits have no will power

8th February 2008 Print
Three quarters of people in the UK (74%) do not have a will, leaving their families walking a financial tightrope when they die, new research from Friends Provident, the FTSE 100 life and pensions company, has revealed.

And shockingly, a third of adults (31%) – that’s almost 15 million people – could inadvertently cost their loved ones thousands in unnecessary taxes purely because they don’t want a will or feel they don’t need one.

While most Brits resist making a last will and testament to safeguard their estate, many still have the best of intentions. More than a third (38%) expect to leave an inheritance of up to £300,000, and almost a fifth (18%) expect to leave more than this. With the Inheritance Tax (IHT) threshold for individuals standing at £300,000, some people could find themselves facing a hefty bill from the taxman.

The research also found that a quarter of people (24%) anticipate that leaving an inheritance could cause problems amongst relatives over who gets what. Yet without a will, they take the risk of causing more upset and disagreements by not making their wishes known.

One in 10 people in the UK (9%) are depending on an inheritance windfall to secure their financial future, and another third (33%) would like some sort of bequest.

However, many people take a different view and are more generous when it comes to someone else’s money who dies with no dependants. More than two-fifths (43%) declare the money should be gifted to a local hospital; a fifth (20%) say the homeless should receive it; and one in 10 (10%) say local schools should benefit.

James Ward, director of marketing at Friends Provident, said: “Where there is a will there is a way… to determine exactly where your hard earned cash and assets go when you die. Our research found that 43% of people don’t currently have a will but do plan to make one – let’s hope it’s something they decide to put into action soon rather than delaying.

“Planning for what would happen to your money after your death isn’t pleasant and it might seem easier to ignore, but it may help safeguard your family’s future and can reduce the Inheritance tax burden.”