Millions of Brits including expats have no wills

Published:  25 Oct at 6 PM
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According to a recent survey, almost 66 per cent of Brits, including those living overseas, have not made a will.

UK inheritance laws for those with estates to leave are complicated enough but, for expats living overseas, the laws involving inheritance tax are especially complex. The survey, by the IDA Unbiased Group, revealed that many expats have had to make two wills, one relevant for their country of residence and another for UK purposes.

While income tax depends on the country of domicile, inheritance tax may relate to the country of birth, with expats recommended to take advice from a qualified person as to whether their tax status will affect their pensions and investments. Popular expat investment such as QNUPS and QROPS may be subject to tax in some overseas countries although they are exempt from the UK IHT.

The long-held belief that, on death, estates pass directly to either the partner or other loved ones is inaccurate, as estates not covered by a will need to be probated before being dispersed with the full agreement of relatives of the deceased. The results may well not be in accordance with the deceased’s wishes.

The survey showed that 42 per cent of those polled has not considered the effect of inheritance tax on their estates and, unsurprisingly, identified favourite beneficiaries as grandchildren’s educational costs, help with housing costs for adult children, charities and care for pets. A third of those surveyed said they would consider making a will at a later date, and 21 per cent said they owned nothing of value.
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