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Millions of Britons yet to make a Will

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Well over half of all UK adults have yet to prepare a Will, a new survey by a leading charity has revealed.

The poll of 2,000 adults, carried out by Macmillan Cancer Support, suggested that two thirds were yet to set their affairs in order.

While older people are, on average, more likely to have a valid Will in place, the proportion of over 55s who have not made arrangements still stands at 42 per cent.

The survey also suggests that there are many people who have visited a solicitor at one time or another but now have a document which is out-of-date.

The most common problem is connected to those who have made a Will and then got married, unaware that the union will render the present paperwork invalid.

It is also fairly typical that people forget to update the Will to reflect changes in their personal circumstances, such as the start of a new relationship, a move to a new home or the arrival of children or grandchildren.

The usual guidance is that people review their Will as a matter of course every five years and following on from the sorts of life change outlined above. Despite this, the poll suggested that one in four documents had not been updated for at least five years.

Craig Fordham, Macmillan’s director of legacies, said: “The start of the year is the perfect time to get your affairs in order and make arrangements for your loved ones and the causes closest to you.”

The high proportion of people who don’t have a valid Will has been a long-running cause for concern. Previous studies have suggested that individuals put off drawing up a document because they don’t think they’re old enough to worry, don’t believe they have sufficient assets to make it worth their while or don’t like to dwell on their own mortality.

Unfortunately this means that a sizeable proportion of the country’s adult population is running the risk of their estates being subject to the laws of intestacy.