Canada LifeApr 5 2023

Half of UK adults do not have a will

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Half of UK adults do not have a will
Pexels/Cytonn Photography

Half of UK adults do not have a will, according to research by Canada Life.

The survey, based on 2,000 UK adults, revealed that one in three (33 per cent) adults who are aged 55 and over do not have a will in place. 

The region with the highest proportion of people who do not have a will was Scotland (64 per cent).

The research found that the belief that they do not have enough assets or wealth to warrant making a will (24 per cent) and the belief that loved ones will automatically inherit their wealth regardless (17 per cent) were the top two reasons.

Other reasons included not being able to afford to make one (15 per cent); the belief that they have plenty of time to make one (15 per cent) and not knowing how to write a will (14 per cent). 

Meanwhile, one in seven (13 per cent) do not want to think or talk about death - landing outside of the top five reasons. 

Stacey Love, technical manager – tax, trusts and estate planning at Canada Life, said: “It's a shame that people still believe that making a will is a challenging process. 

“At any age, dying without a valid will in place can be a huge burden on your loved ones at a time when they may already be vulnerable and struggling to cope.

“Even if you are young, getting a will drafted, signed, and witnessed should be on your bucket list, even if you don’t think you have any real wealth to pass on. 

“Digital assets such as social media accounts and crypto have value – data is the new gold after all.”

The survey found that over a quarter (28 per cent) of all UK adults, both with and without wills said that leaving loved ones with lots of paperwork worries them when it comes to not having a will. 

Closely following this was the concern that their estate won’t be divided up as they would like (26 per cent). 

However, two in five (41 per cent) said nothing worries them about not having a will.

Meanwhile, half of Brits have never talked about making a will either (51 per cent). 

Of those who have discussed making a will, partners or spouses were the most common option (59 per cent) with children coming in second (33 per cent). 

Around one in six (17 per cent) have discussed making a will with a solicitor, but less than one in ten (7 per cent) have discussed making a will with a financial adviser.

Love said: “Once you’ve completed your will, don’t just sit back and forget about it. Talk to your family, let them know where it is being kept. 

“Also make sure to review it every couple of years - family circumstances change over time, and you need to make sure your will evolves too.”

She added: “It's human nature that we don’t want to think about death but writing a will can be a huge weight off yours and your loved one’s shoulders.

“Don’t be afraid of having an open conversation about it with those you want to leave an inheritance to. A professional financial or legal adviser will also be invaluable for offering independent advice and guidance.”

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