Britons failing to make will

More than half of UK adults do not have a will and are risking their assets not being distributed as they wish after death, an Axa Sun Life survey suggests.  If there is no will the law of intestacy applies, meaning spouses and close family members are the first in line to inherit.

Long-term partners and friends have few legal rights under the system.

Failing to make a will can also leave the deceased's estate more vulnerable to inheritance tax.

Legal and tax experts recommend drawing up a will as it allows the person making it to distribute their property in the way they want and in as tax-efficient a manner as possible.

Funeral plans - the AXA Sun Life survey found almost half of adults expected their family to pay for their funeral.  About 20% wanted a traditional churchyard burial or their ashes interred in consecrated ground.  Despite growing public consciousness over environmental issues, just 3% of people surveyed said they wanted an eco-friendly funeral.  But people seemed to want their funerals not to be overly sombre affairs.  Three-quarters of those surveyed said they would be happy for people attending their funeral to wear bright colours. 

AXA interviewed 1,007 people for its survey.