What have you got planned for later life? A cruise might be nice, or a cottage by the sea, but what about money? Do you know if you could afford a care home? Have you made a will? Do you know who would care for your family?
If your answers are no, you’re not alone. Apart from having a pension, research from savings organisation NS&I has shown that over half of us have not made any further financial plans.
More than a third haven’t made provision for long-term illness, nursing or care home fees, either for ourselves, or for other family members. Another third have thought about it – but haven’t put any plans into place.
Even such a basic step as making a will seems to elude most of us, even though almost everyone agrees it’s important.
Many people feel that they are too young to make a will, even those in the 45-64 age bracket.
It seems to be the big steps in life that finally prompt people to take action, notably getting married and having children.
However, it’s worth thinking of your family at every stage in life. If you die without making a will, they can be put under enormous strain trying to work out your wishes. They may face higher tax bills too.
If you don’t make a will, standard rules known as the intestacy rules will apply, and your estate could be divided up in ways you’d never have wanted.
For example, if you had been married and separated, but never got divorced, your ex-husband or wife would automatically benefit, even if you had spent many years with a new partner. If you had not married, but lived with a partner, your parents or siblings would inherit, and your partner may get nothing.
‘Many people assume their possessions will simply pass automatically to their partner or children, or believe their assets are too insignificant to need a formal arrangement’, says Emily Deane TEP from STEP.
‘But if you die without making a will, the intestacy rules will be applied, and this may not be what you want,’ she added. ‘The only certain way to ensure that your partner or relatives inherit in line with your wishes is by making a will.’