7 in 10 people in Ireland Have No Will in Place

Wed Jan 17 2018

Survey finds “Starting a family” is the primary prompt for people to consider estate planning

As a nation, it would appear that we are not great at planning for the future”. This is according to Joe Charles, Head of Proposition at Royal London who was commenting on findings of a recent survey commissioned by the protection specialist and conducted on 1,000 adults nationwide.

Pension, wills – anything that seems to be particularly long-term in nature – is, based on our research, often avoided and ignored by a large portion of Ireland’s population. This is understandable considering wills and the like are not the most pleasant of topics. However, the absence of estate planning in families can often be the source of confusion and anxiety for those left behind.

Royal London undertook nationwide research as part of its investigation into the probate process in Ireland. Probate is the process which legally authorises someone to deal with a deceased person’s will and estate. The protection specialist says they wanted to gauge public perception on the issues around estate planning in advance of the publication of its comprehensive report on the subject, which will outline several key recommendations for change.

Our own experience in settling customer claims is that the probate process in Ireland is at best protracted, and at worst broken. Delays can be a source of mental and financial anguish for families. For example, our analysis of claims in 2016 found the average time to get probate was 489 days (16 months). However, once the grant of probate has been received by Royal London, it then takes just 5 days, on average, to pay the life assurance claim,” said Joe.

Planning for the inevitable

The Royal London survey revealed that while 36% of respondents currently don’t have a will in place, a further 36% were found to be taking a more ’long-finger’ approach, in that they don’t have one in place, but have been meaning to ’sort it out’.

Joe continued,

Unsurprisingly, older respondents are the ones most organised in this regard, with 64% of respondents over 55 already having a will in place, compared with only 8% of young adults. More than half of survey participants (53%) point to their next of kin as the person in charge of sorting out their ‘estate’.”

The Royal London survey also asked “When do you think is the right time to put a Will in place?

When I start a family                                                            29%

When I buy a house                                                              23%

I never really think about that sort of thing                    19%

When I get married                                                              14%

As soon as I hit 50                                                                 9%

If I was to get really sick                                                       6%

Commenting on the findings Joe said,

The majority of respondents, 29%, point to ‘starting a family’ as the right time for putting a will in place. While 23% feel the turning point is buying a house. 1 in 5 say they don’t really think about such matters, which is actually a significant number of people considering the gravity of the topic in question.

Respondents were also asked “If you pass away, who do you believe is in charge of your sorting out your “estate” (anything you have left behind)?”

My next of kin                                                                      53%

I have to select someone before I die                              32%

A solicitor                                                                               13%

The Court services                                                                2%

Joe concluded, “What’s interesting to note here is that 32% of adults are undecided as to who would look after their estate. None of us know what the future holds and while it’s not a topic many like to think about too often, giving careful consideration to what you want to happen to your estate after you die is worthwhile. Probate can be a drawn-out process but there are things you can do now to help in the future. For example, your Financial Broker can help you set-up your life assurance policies in the most suitable way for you and your family. 

About Royal London:

Royal London is the largest mutual life, pensions and investment company in the UK and Ireland with group funds under management of over €122.3 billion. Group businesses provide around 9.0 million policies and employ 3,341 people (figures quoted are as at 31 March 2017).

Royal London’s Irish office is based at 47- 49 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2.

Royal London

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