UK adults leaving their estates to the wrong people

This means that on their death, unintended and possibly undeserving people such as an ex-spouse, a distant relative or even the Queen could gain a share of their home, jewellery, life assurance policies, cash and so on.

57 per cent of UK adults say they have not drawn up a will meaning they would die ‘intestate’ and their dependents could see assets given to a long lost relative rather than the deceased’s nearest and dearest. A further 19 per cent have had a change in circumstances since drawing up their will, meaning it could now be out of date and their estate could be divided up among unintended recipients on their death.

Mick James, Marketing Manager (Protection) said, “Many people may not realise that their life assurance policies may form part of their estate on their death. Without a will they could find other unexpected people benefit from their financial planning at the expense of their loved ones. Few people will be aware that if they die intestate and have no surviving family members the Crown will receive the whole of their estate.”

44 per cent of people without a will would be encouraged to draw one up if they understood the implications of not having one. Standard Life’s free guide, outlined:making a will, explains why they are needed, how to set one up as well as what can happen in the absence of a will. The booklet is available at

Standard Life’s study identifies age and property value as key factors that persuade people to make a will. 68 per cent of people over age 55 have made a will while 60 per cent of people with homes worth more than £150,000 have drawn up a will compared to only 37 per cent of those with properties worth less than £100,000.

When asked why they had not made a will, 35 per cent said they hadn’t got round to it, couldn’t be bothered or had no time. A further quarter (24 per cent) felt having a will was not relevant to them. Standard Life believes cost is not a factor in dissuading people from writing a will as on average people thought the cost would only be £95.

Mick James said, “Wills are the first part of making sure your assets, including life assurance policies, go to the right people. Everybody who takes out a life assurance policy should also make sure they have an up to date will and also think about using a trust in case their estate falls into the Inheritance Tax trap.”

“Writing a will these days can be straightforward with easily available will writing packs on sale in high street stationery shops. Our study showed these to be the second most popular source now, after solicitors, for information about preparing a will.”