'Alarming' number of unmarried couples do not have a will

Almost 80% of unmarried couples unprepared

A worrying number of British adults do not have a will drawn up, which could expose unmarried couples in particular to financial difficulties, Standard Life warns.

Research by the savings and investment firm shows that 61% of adults do not currently have a will, a figure that rises to 78% for unmarried couples who live as married.

Some 77% of 35 to 44 year olds are without a will, while 56% of 45 to 54 year olds do not have one and 42% of 55 to 64 year olds are without one. For the 65 and over age bracket, 24% are currently without a will.

Julie Hutchison, head of technical insight at Standard Life, said the proportion of unmarried couples without a will is particularly alarming.

She said: “Couples who aren't married or in civil partnership do not have the same legal protection as married couples if they die without a will in place. If one were to die, the money could be passed onto their parents, or a family member before their partner.

“This can of course lead to unnecessary legal complications and emotional hardships that can be easily avoided. A large proportion of this group really need to review their circumstances and prioritise the value of having a will to protect their partner and any children they might also have in the relationship."

The most popular reason for not having a will was not having got round to doing it yet, cited by 31% of respondents. Other highly cited reasons were being too young and not having substantial enough assets.

The proportion of those who thought it was too expensive to have a will prepared was low at 7%.

Hutchison added: "Creating a will can be seen as a difficult and uncomfortable thing to do. The modern family can be complicated, we're all rushed off our feet and we don't really like to think about death.

“But the reality is if you were to die without a will the emotional strain on your family, friends and loved ones could far outweigh the time and money spent in sorting your will out in advance."

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