03 October 2018

• Half of UK adults are expecting an inheritance (51%)
• A quarter of people (26%) assume they’ll be assured of an inheritance despite no guarantees
• 4% of people have already spent their expected inheritance

More than half of Brits are expecting an inheritance from someone they know (51%), but a leading Wills provider is warning that these hopes may be unfounded due to the lack of people who have a valid Will in place¹.

According to new research from Co-op Legal Services, more than a quarter of people (26%) assume they’ll inherit something as the next of kin, despite not having any guarantees. Only one in 10 (12%) have actually seen their loved one’s Will and a third, (33%) assume they’ll receive an inheritance, as they have been told in conversation that they are a beneficiary.

Despite not having any assurances, many people have already made plans for their inheritance –more than a quarter would put it into a savings account (27%) but worryingly, 4% of those who were hopeful they’d receive something said they had already spent it. Others would pay for further education, pay off their debts or mortgage or buy their first home.

According to Co-op business data, the average age of people making a Will is 52², but in the UK, 45% of people don’t have a Will³, meaning the rules of intestacy apply. Co-op is warning that if a person dies with no valid Will in place and has no living family members entitled to inherit the estate, this will be distributed according to the Rules of Intestacy, which could mean that the Crown will inherit everything. Unmarried partners, friends, charities, carers, or relations by marriage who may have benefited could miss out if there’s no valid Will in place⁴.

James Antoniou, Head of Wills at Co-op Legal Services explains:

“The importance of having a valid Will can never be over-estimated. Too many people die without a Will and this often leads to confusion and complexity for the families left behind.

“In order to ensure that your wishes are clear and legally recognised about who you want to benefit, it is crucial that you take the right advice about your particular circumstances and put a properly drafted and effective Will in place.

“Many people wrongly think that their loved ones will automatically inherit their assets when they die - but if a person dies intestate (without a Will) they lose control over what happens to their estate. This could mean that their final wishes about who receives their savings, assets, property and investments may not take effect leaving disappointed loved ones behind.”

What people plan to do with their inheritance:

1) Put it into savings (27%)
2) Invest it (22%)
3) Don’t know (20%)
4) Pass it to children or grandchildren/pay off mortgage/go on holiday (15%)
5) Home improvements (14%)

Tips regarding how to avoid making mistakes when drafting a will are also available on request.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Sarah Pyatt 07850 002 312 Sarah.pyatt@coop.co.uk

Notes to editors

¹Research conducted by Atomik on behalf of Co-op among 2,000 adults in March 2018.

²Co-op Legal Services business data (2018)

³Research conducted on behalf of Co-op by Atomik among 2,000 UK adults in 2017.

⁴Wills expert James Antoniou is available to explain the rules of intestacy in more detail. For further information on the rules of intestacy visit https://www.co-oplegalservices.co.uk/probate-solicitors/the-rules-of-intestacy-explained/

About Co-op Legal Services

Co-op Legal Services, became the first alternative business structure (ABS) in the UK in 2012, and has long been established as a market leader in Probate and estate administration and as one of the leading Will writing businesses in the UK. In April 2018, Co-op acquired Simplify Probate, the UK’s second largest provider of probate, cementing the Co-op’s position as the leading provider of probate in the UK. Simplify Probate, which is part of the Simplify Group of companies, has been a specialist provider of probate and estate administration for more than 25 years and also runs an established Bereavement Advice Centre which provides access to practical bereavement advice online and by telephone. Co-op Legal Services is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.