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Make your wishes known or leave it to chance

Around two thirds of the UK population don’t have a will despite the pitfalls of this becoming widely known.

Citizens Advice reports that they are handling an increasing number of enquiries about people who have died without making a will. In fact, over the past five years the figure has doubled to 3,747 in 2015.

The importance of a will was made very clear to one man who was left to administer his cousin’s estate after he had died without leaving a will.

It was a lengthy process that took around two years to sort out and 17 people, some strangers to the family, ended up splitting the estate.

Speaking to the BBC, the relative (who did not want to be named) commented: “We had to pay £240,000 in inheritance tax so that hurts. If he (my cousin) had gone to a solicitor or a nice little company which I’ve used, they would have sorted all that out for him.

I think my message to everyone would be to please make a will, because then you can give your money to the people of your choice.”

Vicky Sladdin, specialist wills and probate solicitor at Atherton Godfrey, said: “I think people underestimate the amount of financial stress that can be caused by not leaving a will.

“We understand that people don’t want to think about death, but by taking this very important step, loved ones can be spared the additional upset at what will already be a very difficult time for them. There is also the benefit of knowing that your estate will end up precisely where you intended it to.” 

What happens if there is no will?

If you die intestate (without a will) the law decides how your estate is distributed. This could result in someone benefitting from your money or property that you didn’t want to. If you have no living relatives your estate could be passed to the Crown.

Depending on the value of your estate and other living relatives, your spouse may have to share the estate with others and this could leave them in financial difficulty.

Unmarried partners would not benefit at all without a will and this could result in them having to leave the family home.

If you would like to discuss making a will, or simply want to discuss your options, please call our friendly team today – 01302 320621 or email

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