Majority of UK adults do not have a will, study finds

More than half (51%) of adults in the UK do not currently have a will in place, a new study from TIME Investments has indicated.

The research also revealed that of those who do have a will, 43% have not updated it since it was first written.

TIME Investments, which provides inheritance tax (IHT) planning services, suggested that having an up to date will is “the most basic tool in the wealth-transfer process", because it creates a clear record of the beneficiaries of an individual’s estate, whether this is made up of investments, property, or valuable items such as jewellery or art.

If an individual dies without a will or a will is found to be invalid, the estate will be wound up using the laws of intestate succession, which will determine who is entitled to benefit from an estate. This process can cause delays, administrative problems, and heartache for loved ones at a difficult time.

Despite this, the TIME Investments study also found that of those who have recently lost a partner or spouse, 27% have yet to update their will, while 24% do not have one in place at all.

Commenting on the study, estate planning and IHT technical specialist at TIME Investments, Henny Dovland, said: “Having a will and an estate plan means that individuals and families can manage the transfer of wealth more effectively and ensure they don’t pay more IHT than is necessary.

“Estate planning can be complex, so I would urge those with larger estates to seek advice as there are tools, such as Business Relief, which can be used to help reduce the tax burden.”

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