According to research and current figures, £15 billion of assets are lying in the unclaimed accounts of the deceased! This means that our loved ones may never receive cash and savings that could help to financially secure their futures and make a better life for their families.
Known in law as ‘Bona Vacantia’ (ownerless goods) there is also a staggering £48 million in unclaimed property. All these unclaimed estates, to include any property, eventually go to the crown.
Contributing to the above figures is the fact that 54% of all UK adults remarkably don’t have a Will in place. Furthermore, it seems to be the ‘British’ way that we don’t discuss such things such as wealth, our estates, Wills and our wishes for when we pass on. Such things we find difficult and awkward to discuss and subsequently, we put off such conversations. This means that a good percentage of those that do have Wills still fail to make the exact details of their wishes clear.
According to the statistics of a recent survey, a third of the UK population suffers from the situation where parents don’t discuss their wealth and their wishes for when they pass on; similarly, sons and daughters fail to broach the subject with their parents since they too feel awkward and don’t wish to cause any upset. It’s a fact that 3 in 10 families never discuss such matters and at least a half of all families fail to understand the full value of their parents’ estates.
All this serves to highlight the point that we can’t afford to by shy or bashful. We need to understand that it’s in no one’s interests – parents or families – to put off the need to sit down and have a detailed discussion about estates, wealth and wishes. This is still the case for those who have a Will in place since Wills don’t always include the level of detail that can often make all the difference.
The Covid pandemic has illustrated the reality that things can happen that were unforeseen, just like any illness or an accident. Given this, we should never put off both the need to write a Will or to have an open and frank discussion with our families and children about our estates; after all, wouldn’t we all rather our families, friends and charities benefit, after our passing, rather than the crown?