As many as 59% of adults in the UK have not yet made a will, according to new research by Prudential and Unbiased.co.uk.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is the younger generation who are least prepared. The research found that only 17% of those aged 18-34 have a will in place and only 29% of those aged 35-54. Older people are more prepared, yet still 36% of people aged over 55 do not have a will and risk dying intestate.
On a geographical basis, those least likely to have made a will are to be found in the North West (67%), London (64%), York & Humber and Scotland (both 63%). Those in the North East are apparently the most prepared, with 46% of adults having a will in place, followed by those in the South West (45%).
Reasons for Not Writing a Will
Research participants gave a variety of reasons why they have not yet written a will. The most common reason was that people were putting it off until they were older, which was given by 23% of respondents. This was followed by:
- Not thinking they would have enough left to be worth passing on when they die (16%).
- It had never occurred to them (13%).
- Assuming that their estate will automatically go to the right person when they die (11%).
Size of Estates
The research also looked at the assets people expect to be able to pass on to the next generation. It found an increase in the estimated value of property to be passed on, rising from £182,000 in 2014 to £214,530 in 2016. However, the estimated values of businesses to be left have fallen from £83,00 in 2014 to £75,130 in 2016.
There has also been a drop in the estimated value of tangible assets that will form part of estates, such as art and jewellery. These were estimated at £23,000 in 2015, but have fallen to £18,200 this year.
“Overall, fewer people have a will in place this year than in previous years,” commented Karen Barrett, chief executive of Unbiased.co.uk. “When we look at the breakdown of what people expect to leave – which in the majority of cases is property – this drop in will-making is a concern.”
“Property prices have gone up over the last year, and we can see from this data that the anticipated property value that people expect to leave behind has increased,” she added. “It’s worrying that despite this people are still not taking steps to ensure their final wishes are adhered to.”
Findings of Will Aid
Research by charitable initiative Will Aid revealed similar findings with regards to the level of will making.
It found that while young people are the least likely to have made a will, as many as 19% of people aged 55 and over haven’t either. It also discovered that 35% of people with no will have dependent children and therefore have not assigned guardians for them.
“A will tells your loved ones who should have your money, property and possessions when you die and who will be in charge of following your instructions - your executor,” explained Peter de Vena Franks, campaign director. “Without this information, the law decides how your estate is passed on – and this may not be in line with your wishes.”
If you would like to write, update or challenge a will, then contact our lawyers today for expert advice and guidance.