Over 50% of adults in Kent have no valid will, but gifts offer  an alternative when time is short 


The Covid-19 pandemic has forced many people to consider what will happen to their estate in the event of their untimely death, but around 59% of UK adults do not have a valid will in place and risk their estate being divided against their wishes in the event of their death. 

A study by investment firm, Canada Life estimated that 31 million adults in the UK have not written a will, increasing the chances of their assets being left to someone they have not specified when they die. 

Aaron Spencer, Head of Private Client at leading Kent law firm Furley Page, said: “Whilst writing a will in advance is preferable, as we’ve seen with Covid, sometimes plans do need to be put in place suddenly from a hospital, hospice or care home.  

“If time is too short to make a will, a gift offers a less formal route to asset division. A deathbed gift is one made when death is expected very soon, but such gifts still require appropriate mental capacity to be considered valid. 

“The gift must also physically pass ownership, for example by handing over car keys or title deeds to the intended recipient; if the beneficiary cannot visit you, the gift will not be valid.  

“Leaving any will or gift until the last minute means that time will be against you. Due to this and other complex rules surrounding such gifts, like the need for witnesses, it is best to instruct a solicitor to advise on the potential gift, even if you are short on time, so as to prevent the decision being contested after your death.”   

For advice and support about estate planning, please contact Aaron Spencer on aas@furleypage.co.uk or call 01227 763939. You can also follow the firm on Twitter @furleypage and on LinkedIn.