The percentage of people without a will might surprise you...

Earlier this year, I asked our contacts to complete a survey about wills, and how you store all the information your executors will need if something happens to you.

The results are in!

Can you take a guess at the percentage of people who took the survey that don't have a will?

The results will definitely surprise you. I’ll reveal them in a moment.

But first …

Look around

I’d like you to do a three-second experiment.

It’s simple, and when you’re done, you will probably have a shocking realisation.

The experiment starts now.

Here we go:

oneStep 1: If you're at work, look around the office, and take note of who’s around you (you can do this at the supermarket or on the train too!)

twoStep 2: Estimate how many of your employees, co-workers or fellow shoppers/travellers have elderly parents or grandparents. (Do you?)
threeStep 3: Take a guess at how many of them would know precisely what to do if they were to lose a parent or grandparent.

Aside from arranging the funeral, would they know how to access all the assets and belongings their loved one left behind – and what to do with them?

What percentage did you come to?

When we lose someone close to us, the best-case scenario is that they have all the documents we need in one place so that we can hand them to a qualified professional to sort out.

Unfortunately, all too often, this is not the case.

This was chaos

When I lost my grandmother recently, I wasn’t expecting the aftermath to be so… chaotic.

Being the executor of her will, it was my responsibility to ensure all her affairs were taken care of – her money, assets, belongings… everything.

She had a will so you’d think this would make things easier...

It couldn’t have been further from the truth.

The will was written up more than a decade earlier and was in some places out of date. I had no idea exactly what bank accounts, investments or insurance policies she held, or where to find them.

What did she want me to do with paintings she bought over the past 10 years? Were her photographs for me or someone else in the family? Did she bank online?

It took months to dig through her belongings, scrambling to find the information I needed to make decisions I wasn’t sure she would have wanted. This was not only emotionally exhausting, but a task I had to juggle with family and work for an extended period of time.

It can happen to anyone

This situation happens to many, many people.

In our survey, 24% of respondents had no will – and of those who did, 26% had not updated it in over a decade. A further 19% last updated their will 5-10 years ago.

The situation is even more alarming across the general population. According to a 2016 survey by Prudential and Unbiased.co.uk, 59% of UK adults have not written a will.¹ 

You may be one of those people. And if not you, then a parent or grandparent probably is. 

Without a will, the family left behind is destined to spend months knee-deep in paperwork, at the time when they are most vulnerable. 

Even with a will, we’re now in a digital age where passwords, social media and digital document storage are part of everyday life.

magnifySo apart from not knowing what to do with money and property, how do you access online banking systems? Email accounts? Dropbox and stored documents? Facebook, Instagram and other social media? Digital photographs and iTunes accounts?

The list goes on.

That’s why I think a service like Lexikin is vital. In fact, I believe in it so much that I recently became a non-executive director.

Owning your digital footprint

This digital platform stores details of all your assets, memories, passwords and anything else you own, all in one secure place. It also allows you to create a digital, legally verified will and leave detailed instructions for your family on how to carry out your wishes.

Instead of spending months trying to trace all your information, your loved ones can simply press a button or two to access everything they need – and then get on with the process of grieving. They should return to their normal lives much faster, which is surely what you want for your loved ones.

But it isn’t just useful in case you lose someone you love.

42% of the respondents to our survey had not collected their essential documents and passwords in one place.

What if your laptop or smartphone is stolen? Or there’s a fire and you lose important paper documents like the deeds to your house or birth certificates?

Having all your information stored securely will be the most enormous relief.

Before you write your Will go explore Lexikin now: www.lexikin.com

 


¹ https://business.unbiased.co.uk/press-releases/fewer-people-in-the-uk-have-wills-in-place-than-last-year-with-nearly-four-in-ten-over-55s-having-no-will-at-all-26-9-2016

Posted by Steve Butler

Topics: Pensions, financial planning

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