Three in five adults (59%) in the UK do not have a will, the mutual insurer found, and so many people could risk leaving their assets to the wrong person.
Here’s what Royal London suggest:
1. Have a conversation with loved ones
Nobody likes to talk about death but having a conversation with your loved ones is an important step to improving your financial security. Make sure your next of kin know where to find your will and other important financial documents.
2. Check the impact of your living status
If you live with your partner unmarried – also known as cohabiting – it’s even more important to keep an up-to-date will as you won’t have the same automatic inheritance rights as those who are married. Royal London research found four in five people (81%) who are cohabiting do not have a will. Make sure you understand the implications of the way in which you own your home, whether that be with or without your partner.
3. Take advantage of Free Wills Month
March is Free Wills Month and selected solicitors offer free will-writing services for over 55s. In exchange you can leave something in your will to charity. Our latest research found that a third (36%) of people aged over 55 don’t have a will.
4. Include funeral arrangements alongside your will
Losing a loved one is one of the most stressful times in your life and arranging a funeral while grieving adds to your distress. Including your funeral arrangements in a letter of wishes alongside your will can really help your loved ones. In addition, with the average cost of a funeral in the UK at £3,800, including financial arrangements, such as a funeral plan, can help ensure no one is left with a bill they can’t afford after you’re gone.
5. Check if your will needs updating
If you already have a will, that’s great news. But if you have recently experienced a major life event, such as buying a home or having children, it’s important to update your will to reflect this. If you have recently separated from a spouse, but not yet divorced, your ex-spouse could still be entitled to benefit from your estate. If you have recently divorced, you should revisit your will especially when the only beneficiary was your former spouse. It’s also important to check your will if you have recently inherited new assets.
Mona Patel, consumer spokesperson at Royal London, said:
“Writing a will often never makes it off the to-do list, but having a valid, up-to-date will is an important step in making sure your assets go to those you want to receive them. Last year our research showed that nearly nine in ten (85%) adults found the process of creating a will easy. This March over 55s can write a will for free by taking advantage of Free Wills Month.”