Updated: Feb 2
In the UK, it is estimated that the percentage of people who have made a Will is 45%
This means that a large number of people are risking their family’s and loved ones’ wellbeing, being left without financial security after they die.
Without a named guardian for your children under 18, they can be taken into care whilst the courts decide on who gets to bring them up, which may not be of your choosing.
Arguments and rifts ensue in the family because of expectations with a loved one’s possessions, money, and assets. Having to apply for a grant of administration when no Will has been left, involves time, money, and extra stress on top of grieving for their loved one who died.
There are many reasons for people not making a Will. Here I will talk about 5 reasons why people don’t make a Will in the UK in my experience of supporting people to get their Will and the preparations in place.
1. Facing death - death is still a taboo topic surrounded by fear and denial and most people can’t talk about it, let alone plan for it.
No one wants to talk about death and leaving their loved ones, but the fact of the matter is that one day we will, it’s the law of nature.
And as difficult as this may be, if we don’t acknowledge and talk about death, we can do a lot more harm than good, as families will be left dealing with more grief and hardships without these most important conversations.
I know from my own experience of my dear dad wanting to talk about this when he was still fit and healthy and I didn’t want to.
And then he died suddenly 2 years after this attempted conversation and we had a big financial mess to sort out afterward at a time when being practical was the last thing on my mind or capable of!
When my mum was in the lead up to her death, nobody spoke about what was happening and so important words and conversations were not had beforehand. To this day I regret not talking to mum and telling her how I felt about her and what she meant to me before she died.
2. People don’t know whom to ask to be the Executor
I hear this so many times when talking to people about making their Wills and the reasons why they don’t make a Will. And they don’t get any further because of this.
However, when it comes to not knowing whom to ask to be their Executor, there can be more options and solutions than we originally think. Together with clients, we look at finding solutions to help them move forward to get their Will in place.
There are many considerations around whom to choose as an Executor, like their age, skillset, including communication skills, availability, etc, and other things you may not have considered!
This is why it’s good to get some support with considering whom to ask to be your Executor, in helping move things
3. People don’t know who to ask to be the guardian of their children and dependants
One of the most common reasons people don’t make a Will is that they don’t know who to ask to be the guardian of their children or dependents, or are aware of the devastating consequences of not doing so. Naturally, this is something most parents, understandably don’t want to have to think about.
With 45,000 children in the UK being bereaved of a parent or sibling every year and it is estimated that a parent dies every 22 minutes in the UK, the importance of naming a guardian for your children in your Will can’t be ignored. (Ref: Winston’s Wish)
It is common for bereaved children to be taken into Care or left with people not of the parent’s choosing after a court decides who gets custody. All of this is at a highly traumatic time for the children who have lost their parents and their world and security have been devastated.
4. Avoiding getting all the paperwork and preparations done
Another main reason why people don’t make a Will is that there are a lot of preparations to have in place before walking into a solicitor. Without these in place, it can be very expensive as solicitors charge by the hour.
A lot of information and preparation needed is to have your executors chosen (and asked beforehand) Guardians of your children chosen, worked out what you actually have in terms of assets, property, and possessions, who you want to inherit these, and any instructions to go with this.
5. People think that because they have no money to leave, then they don’t need to make a Will.
I hear this so many times as to reasons why people don’t make a Will. When a person dies without a Will, this is known as dying Intestate which makes it tough on the loved ones left to sort through with lots of red tape and legal procedures, which can be a lengthy and costly process. This is NOT what the families need in their time of grieving.
Even if we think they have no money to leave, someone will still be the job of having to inform the authorities, close bank accounts, inform landlords, utility companies, friends, and family, arrange a funeral.
In addition, we also have possessions that will be distributed and wanted by the family. For example, “mum’s jewellery” is a common one that I hear people fighting over, expectations of who gets what, the photos, the family heirlooms, etc.
It is so much easier if instructions have been written about who gets what, and what is to be done with personal belongings and home furnishings, etc.
So as you can see, the 5 reasons people don’t make a Will are varied, and yet the importance of doing this is paramount.
In not wanting to talk or think about dying important conversations and plans are not put in place, in not knowing who to ask to be your Executor or guardian for your children under 18 and any adult independents, families, and children are left in a very emotionally and financially vulnerable situation. In not being able to face the paperwork and preparations to get the Will actually done
Getting all the preparations and paperwork in order to actually make the will and not thinking that we need to make one because we have no money to leave.
If any of the above resonates with you and you have not got round to putting a Will in place or are put off by all the preparations, Book your free chat with me.
I would love to support you in getting clear and moving forward with putting your Will in place.
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