Despite regular industry calls to make sure Brits have their financial affairs in order, research by Time Investments has found 51% of UK adults do not have a Will in place.
Over 1,000 Brits were surveyed and the research also found of those who do have a Will, 43% have not updated it since it was first written.
Furthermore, of those who have recently lost a partner or spouse, 27% have yet to update their Will and 24% don’t have one in place at all.
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.
Henny Dovland, Time Investments’ estate planning and IHT technical specialist, 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.”
The importance of IHT planning is sky high as HM Revenue & Customs recently announced receipts between April and December 2022 totalled £5.3bn ($6.5bn, €6bn) – around £700m higher than the same period a year prior.