Our Solicitors for Wills and Powers of Attorney in Lytham, give 10 facts about Wills, you may or may not be aware of.
Posted on 13th November 2023
Wills: we all have them, right? Well, as it turns out, no; we don’t. Our Hope Jordan, trainee solicitor in our Wills and Probate department in our Longridge office of MG Legal has dug out some interesting, if not scary, facts about Wills. Read on, and see how many of the 10 facts you knew.
Prevalence of Wills
In England and Wales, it’s estimated that around 40% of adults have a legally valid will. This emphasises the need for Solicitors for Wills, assisting those who do not have the correct documents in place, to increase this percentage.
Importance of Professional Assistance
The case of Marley v Rawlings (2014) highlighted the importance of professional guidance in Will writing. This case involved a mix-up of Wills, leading to a Supreme Court decision on the intention of the testators. The case, had it been decided differently, would have meant that the Testator's estate passed, instead of to the intended beneficiaries, to the Testator's relatives, whom they had never intended to benefit. Scary, right?
Without a Will, estates in England and Wales are distributed according to the Rules of Intestacy. Statistically, this can lead to undesired outcomes for many families, with only blood relatives (or those legally adopted into the family) able to benefit under these rules. Cohabitees, stepchildren, and those who are as good as your family would not receive anything, unless they made a claim against the estate. Even then, they would incur expensive legal fees, and would likely end up embroiled in a lengthy litigation process, that is, if they even have standing to make a claim.
Rise in Contentious Probate Cases
There has been an increase in contentious probate cases, with 188 cases in 2019 compared to 128 in 2018, highlighting the need for clear and professionally drafted Wills. It is important to note that these are only the cases reported on; there may be many more cases that do not make it as far as being formally recorded in the Court, and they may instead be settled before they reach this stage. So, in all likelihood, this figure is even higher.
Modern Wills increasingly include digital assets. However, a YouGov survey found that only 25% of people in the UK have included digital assets in their Wills. The provisions for digital assets will not be required for everyone, but it is nevertheless important to think about.
The average age for writing a first Will in the UK is around 47 years. However, the trend towards younger individuals creating Wills is growing, partly due to increased awareness. Everyone should have a Will; for the sake of £175.00, it's not worth the stress and turmoil it can caused your loved ones by not having a valid Will.
Changes in Family Structure
With evolving family structures, including civil partnerships and blended families, the complexity of Will writing has increased, necessitating expert legal advice.
Wills including charitable donations have risen, with Cancer Research UK reporting over £193 million in legacy donations in 2019.
The pandemic saw a surge in Will writing, with some firms reporting a 70% increase, demonstrating the growing awareness of the importance of having a Will.
MG Legal are leading solicitors in Will drafting and Lasting Powers of Attorney. If you are one of the 60% of people that do not have a legally valid Will, or if you have a Will, and your circumstances have changed, then get in touch with our amazing team by contacting us, using the details, below.
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