Singles neglect estate planning according to Standard Life

Singles neglect estate planning according to Standard Life

One in five single people do not have a will drawn up, risking their dying wishes being unheard and having their estate divided by the law, according to research from Standard Life.

The 2008 Wills and Trusts Research Report shows that single people and those with children younger than eighteen years, are less likely than those who are married or been married, to have a will. Unattached people are also less likely to have a trust set up or signed a power of attorney, jeopardising their potential IHT allowances and exemptions and making their legal affairs difficult to administer in case of serious illness or death.

The research also shows that:

* Despite the credit crunch and difficult economic conditions, almost a quarter of people (22 per cent) plan to leave money to charity in their will.
* Nearly three out of five (59 per cent) are unaware that the Inheritance Tax free allocation is now transferable between husband and wife if unused on first death.
* Over one third (36 per cent) know that an Inheritance Tax exemption exists for gifts made from left over income. Those who have signed a power of attorney, drawn up a will or have a trust in place are more likely to be aware of the Inheritance Tax exemption.
* 40 per cent of people feel strongly about the kind of funeral they want, although only 19 per cent have their funeral wishes written down anywhere.
* Nearly half (49 per cent) of all people do not store all their important documents (will, funeral arrangements) together or told their family where to find these.

Julie Hutchison, head of estate planning, Standard Life said, “Making a will and keeping it up to date can save family and friends a great deal of distress and, potentially, money, so it should be regarded as a priority. It is clear from our research that many people still need to get their paper work in order and perhaps aren’t fully aware of the benefits of thorough estate planning and the tax exemptions and allocations they may be entitled to.

“It is particularly concerning that single people are more likely not to have made a will. If these people die intestate, that is, without having made a will, any plans made to leave the estate to friends or charities will remain unfulfilled and if there are no family members alive, the whole estate will go to the Crown.”

For the full report please see http://www.standardlife.com/static/docs/wills_trust_2008.pdf

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