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More than two million retirees risk dying intestate, study reveals

More than one in 10 people over the age of 75 have yet to draft a Will, a major study has revealed.

The research, published by financial services provider Just Group, shows that potentially millions of people in England and Wales are at risk of dying intestate.

According to the report, over one in 10 (12 per cent) Brits over the age of 75 – around 695,000 people – do not have a Will in place to state exactly how they want their estate to be distributed when they die.

This increases to two in 10 (22 per cent) among those aged 65 to 74 – around 1.48 million adults.

It means that more than two million pensioners have not written a Will, leaving them dangerously exposed to the laws of intestacy.

Where there is no valid Will, the rules of intestacy state that only the next of kin – such as a spouse, a civil partner, or children – can inherit the deceased person’s estate, meaning a cohabiting partner, a charity, or a life-long friend would not automatically be entitled to anything.

The study also reveals that seven in 10 people over the age of 75 – around four million – have not arranged a Power of Attorney (LPA).

An LPA is a legal document that allows someone – usually a family member or close friend – to make financial and welfare decisions on your behalf if you’re no longer able to do so.

For example, someone diagnosed with dementia can ask their Lasting Power of Attorney to pay their bills for them or decide where they should live and what medical care they will receive.

Commenting on the report, Stephen Lowe, group communications director at Just Group, said: “These are not easy conversations to have with loved ones, but broaching the subject and putting plans in place can make things clearer and considerably easier to manage at a very stressful and difficult time.

“At its simplest a will ensures that your estate is shared out as you would wish, not according to the rules of intestacy, and there can be financial benefits to planning in advance how and when to pass on inheritances.”

He added: “Powers of Attorney are understandably more difficult for people to consider. None of us likes to think about being so vulnerable and it’s tempting to think ‘it won’t happen to me’ or ‘I’ll deal with it later’. Sadly the data tell a different story: more than seven per cent of people over the age of 65 have dementia and the risk of developing dementia rises to one in six over the age of 80.”

For help and advice with related matters, please get in touch with our later life planning team today.


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