11 Dec 2018
Glasgow has been named as one of the worst cities in the UK for residents not having a will.
This emerged in new research, which also revealed that just 39% of Britons who have drafted a will plan to divide their assets equally between beneficiaries.
Despite almost half of those aged over 55 planning to split their estate equally, younger people (aged 18-34) are driving a change toward a more selective division of assets, with just 25% planning to give beneficiaries an equal share of their estate.
When looking at the reasons for not dividing an estate equally, 14% say some beneficiaries deserve more than others due to the way they behaved during the deceased’s lifetime.
Other reasons include some beneficiaries being wealthier than others (10%), some beneficiaries being more liked than others (9%) and the repayment of financial support that the beneficiary gave them during their lifetime (9%).
But just 37% of those who have decided not to divide their assets equally tell their beneficiaries in advance.
Direct Line, who carried out the survey, says this could lead to resentment between beneficiaries and increase the likelihood of legal challenges and disagreements over the estate.
The research reveals more than 29 million Britons (56%) haven’t written a will.
Among 17 leading UK cities, the residents of Nottingham are least likely to have commenced estate planning, as 70% haven’t written a formal or informal document on how they would like their assets divided.
Glasgow comes third on the list with 63%, while Edinburgh is 15th on 47%.
When it comes to a division of assets, residents of Belfast (55%) say they have split their estate equally among beneficiaries compared to 37% in Glasgow and 30% in Edinburgh.
While 71% of Britons aged 18-34 do not have a will, Direct Line says it is alarming that over a third of adults over the age of 55 also do not have a will in place.
Less than a third (32%) of people have written a will dividing up their assets using professional legal support. A further 7% have used an online tool kit, which Direct Line warns may not result in the will being legally binding if the benefactor hasn’t closely followed the rules.
James MacKinnon, a Private Client Partner at Aberdein Considine, says that dying without a will can have serious and complex consequences, and can result in a period of stress, particularly for loved ones.
"The outcome can be unexpected and complicated," he said.
"The administration of the estate is also made more complicated. Making a will can save a great deal of cost and hassle, and it’s recommended that you seek the advice of a solicitor or professional who specialises in this field, before making any decisions."