By Melanie Wright
What happens if you die without a will in place
None of us like to think about dying, but failing to plan ahead could leave your loved ones facing unnecessary stress and worry when the time comes.
Getting your affairs in order, including writing a will and planning for funeral costs, can make life much more straightforward for those you leave behind, and enable them to concentrate on grieving.
Writing a will
More than half of UK adults, equivalent to over 31m people, currently don’t have a will, according to research from Unbiased.co.uk, the trade body for independent financial advisers.
A quarter of those said their excuse for not having a will is that they are planning to do it later in life.
Those living in Liverpool are least likely to have written a will, with 73% admitting they don’t have one, followed by 69% in Nottingham and 68% in Glasgow.
If you die without a will, intestacy laws apply, which mean your estate may not go to who you want it to.
For example, if you live with a partner but aren’t married or in a civil partnership, they won’t be entitled to anything from you when you die unless you’ve made your wishes clear in a will.
Karen Barrett, chief executive and founder at Unbiased.co.uk said: “People tend not to think about wills, because they don’t like to think about death. But what 60% of Brits should certainly think about is the headache and expense they will cause their families if they die intestate.
At best, it will be inconvenient; at worst, it could trigger bitter disputes and lead to some loved ones missing out entirely.
Yet it’s so easy to prevent this from happening – a quick consultation with a solicitor is all it may take.”
Get more information about Will writing and Lasting Powers of Attorney.
Planning ahead for funeral costs is worth considering if you’re worried that your loved ones might struggle to pay for the sort of send-off you’d like.
According to SunLife’s latest ‘Cost of Dying’ report, the average cost of a funeral is currently £4,078, up 4.7% over the past year and a massive 112% since SunLife first started tracking funeral costs back in 2004.
This includes the average cost of the cremation or burial, as well as funeral director fees, and the minster or celebrant. Other costs, such as order sheets, funeral cars, flowers and the wake, add a further £1,928 to funeral bills.
Funeral plans allow you to pay for your funeral in advance, with one of the main benefits being that you pay for it at today’s prices.
That means even if you die in well into the future, when prices have risen substantially, there won’t be anything else to pay.
They also allow you to record your wishes, such as a particular piece of music you’d like played at your funeral, or any readings that are important to you.
If you are thinking about buying a funeral plan, make sure you understand exactly what the plan provides as terms can vary widely.
For example, while funeral director services will usually be covered, not all plans guarantee third party costs such as cremation and ministers’ fees.
Radio Times has teamed up with Dignity to offer a range of pre-paid funeral plans. Click here to find out more.