Some seven in 10 Irish people do not have a will — including a third of over 55s, according to a survey by insurance fund Royal London, writes Pádraig Hoare.
The survey found that 64% of respondents over 55 already have a will in place, compared with only 8% of young adults.
One in five of the 1,000 respondents admitted they had not put a plan in place because they “never really think about that sort of thing”.
Almost 30% said starting a family was the right time to plan a will, while 23% said when buying a house. One-third of respondents said they had not assigned anyone to look after their affairs when they died.
Head of proposition at Royal London, Joe Charles said: “As a nation, it would appear that we are not great at planning for the future. Based on our research, pension, wills — anything that seems to be particularly long-term in nature — is 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 said the survey was undertaken as part of its research into the probate process in Ireland.
Mr Charles said: “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, or 16 months.”
This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.