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Solicitors urge Brits to make a will

Most British adults have not made a will, according to new research from the body representing solicitors in England and Wales.

The Law Society findings, published on 27 October, revealed that 73 per cent of 16 to 54-year-olds do not have a will. Among over-55s, 64 per cent of people have made a will.

Law Society president Andrew Caplen said the figures were worrying, adding: “Thousands of people die every year without making a will or without a properly drafted will.

“Dying intestate not only means your final wishes will probably go unheeded, but the financial and emotional mess is left for your loved ones to sort out.

“Making a will is usually a very simple process but we urge people to use a qualified, insured solicitor because he or she will be able to spot the nuances that could lead to trouble later on if not properly addressed.”

It is estimated that by 2018 the government will receive nearly £6 billion annually in inheritance tax, levied at a rate of 40 per cent on estates worth more than £325,000. The Law Society said that with careful planning measures, such as leaving money to charity, people who would be subject to inheritance tax and make a will could substantially reduce the amount of tax due or even alleviate it all together.

A recent separate survey conducted by YouGov found that the biggest motivators for people writing a will were seeing the negative implications of not having one, and “feeling old enough”. Nearly half (47.2 per cent) of people drew up a will for one of these two reasons.

The biggest reason for people for not having a will was that they did not believe they had anything worth leaving (34 per cent).