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Taxman ‘could inherit your money unless you make a will'

Posted: 7th January 2015   In: Wills, Trusts and Probate

The taxman could take some of the money you want to go to loved ones after you die if you fail to make a will and keep it up to date.

Some may also go to an estranged husband or wife.

That’s the warning from the Law Society, which has just conducted a survey revealing that most people don’t have will and don’t realise the heartache that could cause for their families in the future.

The survey showed that 73% of people aged 16 to 54 haven’t written a will. The figure is 64% for people aged over 55.

More than 20% of people said they didn’t make a will because they assumed that their estate would automatically go to their cohabiting partner or their family. This is not necessarily the case. If you die without having made a will then your estate is divided in a way laid down by law.

This means your money could go to your estranged spouse or distant family members you may not even like. Some may go to the government in tax. More than £8m was taken in tax in 2013 because people had not made a will. Unlike spouses, cohabiting partners have no automatic right to inherit your estate. They can be left in a very vulnerable position.

Law Society president Andrew Caplen said the figures are extremely concerning: “Thousands of people die every year without making a will or without a properly drafted will.

“Dying intestate (without having made a will) not only means your final wishes will probably go unheeded, but the financial and emotional mess is left for your loved ones to sort out. This need not be your final legacy.

“Making a will is usually a very simple process but we urge people to use a qualified, insured solicitor because he or she will be able to spot the nuances that could lead to trouble later on if not properly addressed.”

Please contact Josie Birnie if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of wills and probate.