More than 30 million adults in the UK have not written a will

The global Coronavirus pandemic has forced thousands of people to think about the inevitable and consider what will happen to their home and other assets when they are no longer around.

Having said this, millions of people in the UK still haven’t put plans in place to protect their estate and prevent their loved ones from having to deal with it all later on when they pass away.

Canada Life, a company that works to help people with retirement, investment and protection planning, has recently discovered that 3 in 5 adults (59%) do not yet have a will in place to protect their assets and loved ones, which equates to a staggering 31 million people in the UK without a will.

Here, we reveal the key statistics from their study and highlight the importance of writing a will.

 

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61% of people over 65 do not have a will

It is generally assumed that writing a will is something that needs to be done when you’re older, which is far from the truth, but it is clear to see that a significant amount of people either don’t see the importance of writing one or haven’t got around to it yet, as 39% of people aged between 65 and 74 and 22% of people over the age of 75 have not yet made a will.

In addition to this, 32% of people over 75 haven’t even thought about writing a will, which is a worrying thought as this means that they do not have anything in place to protect their home or any other belongings they have worked so hard to attain throughout their life.

More young people are writing wills or updating their existing one

One of the most notable things about Canada Life’s research is the number of people between the ages of 25 and 34 who have started writing their own will or have made changes to their existing will document since the start of lockdown in March 2020.

During this period:

  • 21% of 25- to 34-year-olds started thinking about making a will for the first time
  • 12% actually wrote one
  • 30% updated their existing will

Read more: How to Make or Amend a Will During the Coronavirus (Covid-19) Lockdown

Lockdown encourages people to consider the importance of an LPA

The report found that 12% of adults in the UK had a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place before the Covid-19 pandemic began and before lockdown measures were enforced.

During lockdown, however, 6% said that they had contacted a professional service about setting up an LPA to ensure they are cared for later on in life.


What is an LPA?

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a unique legal document which gives someone (an attorney, or attorneys) the legal right to help you (the donor) make decisions on your behalf, or at least help you make decisions, if you are ever unable to do so yourself due to a lacking mental capacity.

To find out more about LPAs, read our useful guide: Should I Get a Lasting Power of Attorney?


More people are considering writing a living will or ‘advance decision’ to refuse treatment

With similar statistics to the number of people setting up an LPA, the study also revealed that 13% of adults have made an advance decision (also known as a living will or advance statement), which people put in place to explain their requests for refusing certain medical treatment in certain circumstances, in the event that they become unable to make decisions for themselves.

While the UK was in lockdown, another 6% of adults made a living will to make advanced decisions for their future.

If you’re unsure whether or not you need to write a living will or if you simply want to know more, read our guide on Living Wills and Advance Decisions.

What’s been said?

Tax and estate planning specialist at Canada Life, Neil Jones, stated that:

“Wills and estate planning more broadly is a sensitive subject for households across the UK, and is often thought of as a bit of a taboo subject […] While no one likes to think about their own mortality, getting your house in order by having the right legal instructions can take away much of the emotional and financial pressure at a very difficult time.”

He also highlights how simple and affordable it can be to create your own will:

“Putting a will and other legal instructions in place needn’t be expensive or difficult to do, and there are a whole range of services and support available. Taking the first step is always the most difficult but puts you as the benefactor in the driving seat.”

With Wills.Services, you can get started with your will online at a cheap price of just £29.99 (cost of a basic will). You also get the added support of having a professional review your will to ensure it is legally-binding, which comes at no extra cost.

Learn more: How to Make a Will at Home

Do I need a will? – What happens if you die without one?

If you want to make sure that your hard-earned assets and cash don’t get inherited by the wrong people when you pass away, you will need to make a will to clearly clarify your wishes, ensuring that your estate gets distributed exactly how you want it to and your loved ones won’t face any difficulty at a difficult time.

Without a will, you will die intestate, meaning that your assets will be shared out in line with the government’s intestacy rules, which is unlikely to match your personal wishes.

Find out more in our useful guides Do I Need a Will? and What Happens if You Die Intestate In the UK?

How to make a will at home during the Coronavirus pandemic

Gone are the days where you need to hunt down a professional solicitor and pay high fees to write up a will.

With Wills.Services, you can make one from the comfort of your own home and we’ll make sure that it’s legally-valid, so your loved ones won’t face any issues when the time comes.

With the Coronavirus pandemic still ongoing and with local lockdown measures being enforced, many people may be concerned about the two-witness rule, which makes sure that your will is binding in the eyes of the law, but the Ministry of Justice has relaxed these rules to make remote witnessing possible during the crisis.

To begin writing your will today, simply register with Wills.Services to get started, and remember that you can come back to it at any time - you don’t need to complete it all at once.

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For further information and advice, read our helpful guides below:

 

Article reviewed 16th June 2021