Nearly half of homeowners in the UK do not have a valid Will, a major study has revealed.
The research, published by insurer Royal London, suggests that 44 per cent of homeowners may die intestate, potentially leaving part of their estate to an unintended party.
According to the report, one in five (21 per cent) adults without a Will said they hadn’t written one because they have “nothing valuable to pass on”. But 16 per cent of those who say they had nothing of value to pass on also owned property.
Likewise, four in 10 (43 per cent) adults who have written a Will had not updated it since purchasing a property.
Additionally, 16 per cent of over-55s reported not having a Will but also owning a property.
The most common reason for not writing a Will among homeowners is a lack of awareness. It is a common misconception that their property will be automatically passed on to their partner or children when they’re gone, but this is not always the case.
When a person dies, their estate is shared out under the narrow rules of intestacy. These rules state that only the next of kin, such as a spouse, a civil partner or children, are entitled to receive an inheritance, meaning a cohabiting partner may not be entitled to anything.
The only way to ensure you are passing on your estate to the intended party is by writing a watertight Will.
Commenting on the report, Mona Patel, consumer spokesperson at Royal London said: “It’s surprising that some people don’t think their home is worth including in their Will.
“Writing a Will seems to be seen as an admin task that never makes it to the top of the “to-do” list. It’s worth making it a priority as having a Will in place could help avoid any unnecessary distress at an already difficult time for loved ones.”