Three quarters of people in the UK have yet to write a will, according to research from Friends Provident.
The survey of almost 2,700 people suggests a third do not want a will or feel they do not need one.
Meanwhile, a quarter think leaving an inheritance could cause problems among relatives over how the family divides the estate.
A total of 38% expect to leave an inheritance of up to £300,000 while 18% expect to leave more than this, the study says.
It says one in 10 depends on an inheritance windfall to secure their financial future and a third would like some sort of bequest.
However, 43% believe a local hospital should receive the money when the person who died has no dependents. A fifth believe the homeless should receive it and one in 10 says local schools should benefit.
James Ward, director of marketing at Friends Provident, says: “Our research found that 43% of people don’t currently have a will but do plan to make one. Let’s hope it’s something they decide to put into action soon rather than delaying.”
Yesterday investment manager WAY Group called inheritance tax (IHT) planning strategies "outdated" as statistics suggest 90% of 70-year-olds will live for the minimum seven years required to qualify for IHT relief, meaning they will not need to take advantage of any discount on their initial gift.
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