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Private Wealth & Wills & Succession Planning

Why apathy isn’t good enough when it comes to Wills


This research chimes with Collyer Bristow’s own findings announced in our Age of Apathy report. Many parents operate under the belief that a Will is not necessary. This may be due to a perception that they do not have substantial assets, or that a Will would only codify what would happen anyway in law in the absence of a Will.

There are a number of misconceptions in the public at large about what happens on death if the deceased did not leave a Will. Our Age of Apathy report founds that 23% of respondents presumed their assets would be inherited automatically by their surviving spouse. This reason was second only to the belief amongst respondents that they do not have the time to create one.

On death the entitlement of your loved ones is determined by a rigid set of rules known as the ‘intestacy rules’. If you are survived by a spouse and at least one child then the assets of the deceased are divided between the spouse and children according to a predetermined formula. This can result in young children receiving assets outright at a young age. In addition, inheritance tax may be due at 40% over a the first £325,000 as only those assets passing to a spouse benefit from the 100% spouse exemption from inheritance tax. This position is potentially made worse if a couple is in fact not married; in such circumstances the surviving partner is entitled to nothing and the entire estate passes to the child. This has potentially even greater inheritance tax consequences and is rarely the intention of the parent.

There is never a bad time to make a Will. Whenever someone experiences a significant life event, for example getting married, buying a property or starting a business,  they should consider what plans they currently have in place should they die unexpectedly. These are prime opportunities to write a Will.




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Aidan Grant

Senior Associate