Companies  

Digital tools could 'plug knowledge gap' around wills

Digital tools could 'plug knowledge gap' around wills

Digital tools should be used to encourage will writing by making it easier for consumers to understand wills, an expert has said. 

A survey of consumers and advisers by Co-op Legal Services found the majority (61 per cent) of UK adults had not written a will.

But the survey found digital tools could help solve this lack of understanding around wills.

According to the provider, a common misconception was that many believe they will inherit everything if their partner dies, regardless of whether they are married, which it warned could “lull people into inertia”.

More than a third (35 per cent) of consumers questioned believed a free information tool would help them understand the requirements and encourage them to engage with a will writing service.

A fifth of IFAs also felt they could better serve clients’ needs with access to a digital legal products providing information on wills.

There are signs of increased demand for will writing during the coronavirus pandemic. Google trends data showed searches in the UK relating to wills rose by 40 per cent in mid-March compared with the previous month.

Caoilionn Hurley, managing director of Co-op Legal Services, said: “The coronavirus pandemic is clearly focussing people’s minds on planning for later life. It’s now more important than ever that people of all ages understand that writing a will can save both time and immense distress for their loved ones.

"Anyone with assets can and should have a will, especially those with children or other family who depend on them financially."

Ms Hurley added: “It’s clear that there’s a knowledge gap that needs addressing. To plug this gap, we believe there is an opportunity for digital tools to provide important information and insight to customers, particularly those writing a will for the first time.

"By providing interactive and engaging tools to arm people with the information they need, we are certain it will encourage them to engage with will writing services and start planning for later life sooner.”

Interest in will writing has also surged among advisers, as SimplyBiz reported a sharp rise in interest for their will writing and estate planning services over the past two months.

chloe.cheung@ft.com