The BBC has reported this week that the number of enquiries relating to intestacy received by the Citizen’s Advice Bureau has doubled over the last five years, along with an increase in the number of enquiries about the drafting and execution of Wills. It is well known that the majority of the population does not have a Will even though most people would admit they should have one – so what is holding people back?
It seems likely that a combination of not wanting to think about death, worries over the cost of making a Will and people feeling that they are ‘not old enough’ means that many simply do not get round to it. In the wake of Dying Matters Awareness week which ran from 9-13 May 2016, hopefully it is becoming clear that hoping for the best is not a good approach where your assets are concerned.
One aspect of intestacy that many people do not seem aware of is the extra pain and stress it can cause your loved ones at an already difficult time, particularly if a death is sudden or unexpected. Working out who is entitled to the assets you leave and ensuring that all beneficiaries are found before distributions are made can lead to delays in relatives receiving funds which can in turn lead to financial hardship where it is the breadwinner of the family who has passed away – particularly if parents are unmarried, because cohabitees or partners are not entitled to receive anything on an intestacy.