Posted on 30.9.16
Making a will is tempting fate – with over half of people who do so fearing they`re likely to die as soon as they complete the paperwork.
The new survey by law firm Gorvins solicitors has also revealed that a further 43 per cent actually put off signing the documentation for several months – even if they have paid lawyers to do the work – as they worry that signing on the dotted line equates ` signing their life away`
In a review of client files, solicitors at the firm found that 62 per cent of those who see the lawyers about organising their estate believed that making a will would somehow hasten their death. `
Clients often say that they know that they are being irrational,` explains Christine Thornley, Partner and Head of Wills, Trusts at Gorvins “And they are even embarrassed that they feel this way. But the mind-set seems to be that making provision for after their death is somehow offering the green light for something to happen to them. They often say they think something will happen to them as soon as they leave the office – though, thankfully, it never has”
Christine went onto say that in some cases clients will wait until after a specific event on their calendar before signing the will in order to avoid `running the risk` of not making the date. Such events include family weddings, a planned holiday or waiting for children to leave home and start university.
“Some people may have just dealt with the probate of their own parents` estate which has made them think about making a will. But when it comes to actually going through with it, they fear they will be `next in line` for the grim reaper. So even though they have paid for the work, they wait several months to sign off the will – however much we encourage them to do so, because until they sign the will doesn’t have any effect.
There are those who say that they`ll sign it at home but it really should be done in the lawyer`s office. Not only because we can be sure (it’s been completed) they’ve done it. But it ensures there is a record of the execution of the will and that this was done correctly. This is particularly important if family members are likely to cause trouble after your death. `
Almost two thirds of British adults don`t have a will. Many of those who do have failed to update it following major changes such as divorce which may invalidate the contents.
And one in five don’t intend to write a will at all, and face the prospect of dying intestate.
Making a will has become increasingly important as house prices continue to rise and because of the potential complexities of blended families which comprise second marriages, adopted or step children. It can also ensure avoiding paying too much inheritance tax.
And it seems the statistics about unexpected fatalities are of no comfort for the superstitious: even though the chances of being killed by lightning are 3 000 000 to one and the chances of dying in a plane crash are 11,000 000 to one.
Adds Christine: “Even though death is the one certainty in life, it is still a taboo subject. But making a will really is the only way to ensure you can look after your family. So however fatalistic people understandably feel, it really is the best thing you can do for your loved ones.”
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