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Clough & Willis Solicitors’ Survey Reveals Startling Attitudes to not having a Will despite changes in UK Law


Making a Will is an emotive issue. We all know how important they are but a recent survey conducted by Bury based Clough & Willis – one of the North West’s leading midsized legal firms – shows that an overwhelming majority of those questioned in the Greater Manchester area still don’t have a will. This is despite acknowledging that without making a will their family and loved ones could be left out in the cold and seriously out of pocket should something happen to them.

These revealing findings come despite a revision of the Intestacy Rules, which govern how someone’s affairs are handled after death in the absence of a last will and testament. The changes, which take effect from 1 February 2009, revise the amounts a person is entitled to on the death of their spouse. Co-habiting partners still fail to benefit at all and a complex trust structure is imposed upon families where the estate exceeds the fixed legacy to the spouse of £250,000. Even after the credit crunch and the decline in house values, many estates will exceed that sum. These trusts are unwieldy, expensive to administer and rarely meet the real needs of those left behind.

Some 250 people were asked by Clough & Willis Solicitors what they knew about Wills and estates and how important they thought them to be. Astonishingly, although a massive 83% stated that they knew having a Will was an essential provision, a whopping 72% didn’t have one in place.

It seems that this statistic isn’t borne out of a lack of understanding as 84% knew what the impact would be on their loved ones; 65% understood that their spouse wouldn’t necessarily inherit their whole estate whilst 90% realised that they would miss the opportunity to plan for a tax-efficient future by not making a Will.

Perceived cost and finding time were the main reasons why wills hadn’t been drawn up.

Richard Phillips, head of the Private Client Team at Clough & Willis, said; ‘The survey has been a real eye opener for us but broadly follows the general trends we have seen developing for some years. It is disappointing that many people are prepared to fall back on to the Intestacy Rules despite these being out of touch with modern family arrangements and the general increase in personal wealth.’

Richard continued; ‘It’s never been as important as it is now to protect your hard-earned wealth for the benefit of your family and those you love. We all want the security of knowing that our family and loved ones are taken care of when the inevitable happens and the only way of ensuring this is to have an up to date Will.’

The Private Client team at Clough & Willis handle all matters in connection with succession planning (Wills, Trusts and Inheritance Tax mitigation), Estate Administration (Probate and Intestacy) and Court of Protection issues (Lasting Powers of Attorney and Deputyship applications).

For more information on how Clough & Willis can help you with making a will contact: Richard Phillips, Emma McGrath or Ciara Hannawin


 Trust and Probate Law
 Inheritance Law
 Making A Will
 Inheritance Tax Wills
 Estate Administration

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