The majority of the population is ill-prepared for the event of a severe illness or serious accident, according to research from Standard Life.
A survey of 1,010 adults reveals half do not have a will, three-quarters do not have a power of attorney and 3% own property abroad but do not have a will in that country to cover the property.
In addition, the survey suggests people with children are less likely to have a will than those who have none, while people who are widowed, separated or divorced are more likely to have a will than those who are married or cohabiting.
Julie Hutchison, national development specialist of estate planning for Standard Life, believes a will and power of attorney should be “bread and butter” planning for everyone.
If people leave things to chance, Hutchison warns HM Revenue & Customs might get more of their assets, distant members of their family could benefit financially in ways they might not be happy with, and it will cost more in legal fees and take longer to wind up an estate if no will exists.
She adds: “It is worrying that such a low number of those questioned have powers of attorney. This means that if they end up in a coma or suffer a serious accident their legal and financial affairs will not run smoothly causing extra stress and suffering for their families and loved ones.”
If you have any comments you would like to add to this story or would like to speak to its author about a similar subject, telephone Emily Perryman on 020 7968 4554 or email [email protected].IFAonline
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