As a Private Client solicitor, it probably won’t surprise that that “death” is a topic that gets brought up quite a bit in my life. However, you might be surprised to discover that this is not necessarily because of my area of law but is more to do with my fascination with mountains and wanting to climb the biggest – Everest.

I have read enough books about the mountain, and know myself well enough, that I would probably suffer from something known as “summit fever”, whereby I would forgo my own safety and wellbeing in order to reach the summit. My wife has made it clear that a trip that I might not come back from is not something I will be doing anytime soon.

In honesty, it probably comes as no surprise that ‘death’ is not most normal people’s favourite topic, even when they have come to see me to discuss their own estate planning. No one likes to consider their own mortality and the subject of death isn’t one that will get brought up too often – unless you are trying to convince someone to let you go and climb a big mountain…

However, should this be a conversation we should be having more often? In a world of so many uncertainties, death is one thing that can be certain.

Research shows that approximately 60% of British adults do not have a Will. This equates to around 30 million people.

There are many reasons someone might not do a Will. The most common reason that people gave was that they are too busy and just haven’t got round to it yet. I’m sure we’ve all been there, we have a ‘to do list’ and the tasks we are not looking forward to get left at the bottom.

Other reasons stated for not having s Will is that people have never considered doing one or people do not believe they have anything worth inheriting.

When the figures are further broken down, approximately 75% of those aged 35-54 do not have a Will and, I would argue, this is probably one of the most important periods to have a Will in place. It is during this stage of life that we are most likely to have dependants whom we would want looked after and would also find ourselves with the greatest financial commitments.

In the absence of Will, an estate would be distributed in accordance with the rules of intestacy. These rules are not always as straight forward as you would think, and it increases the risk of your wishes not being fully reflected and sufficient provision not being made to those most important to you.

Having your wishes properly documented could carry even more significance if you have young children; are cohabiting with your partner, but are not married; or you have stepchildren or are in a second marriage with children from a previous relationship.

The rules of intestacy just do not consider the complexities of modern family life.

There are significant benefits to having a Will and considerable risks of not having one. By making suitable provision, you can ensure that not only are your wishes reflected, but you could also save your loved ones from any unnecessary stress, upset, delay and expense that can often accompany an intestate estate.

If I or any of colleagues at Fisher Jones Greenwood can assist you with your Will or estate planning matters then please do not hesitate to contact us on 01206 835261 or via email [email protected].