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Over half of UK adults don’t have a will

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The number of people without a will in the UK is at an all-time high, passing the previous peak in 2011.

Around 60% of UK adults still haven’t made a will, according to new research from, leaving around 31 million people at risk of dying intestate.

If you die without a will your estate will be distributed solely according to intestacy law, which may not reflect your wishes. This is particularly true if you are living with a partner, but unmarried, or if you have a step-family.

The research shows that the most common reason people gave for not making a will was that they haven’t got round to it yet. Over a quarter (26%) said they planned to make one later in life. This was higher than last year. A fifth believe they don’t have enough assets to make it worthwhile. While others said it hasn’t occurred to them, they can’t afford it, or they don’t know how to do it.

Those aged 55 and over are three times more likely to have a will than those aged 18-34. However, even in this age group more than a third (37%) are still without one. In the 35-54 age group, three-quarters have taken no steps to ensure their loved ones will inherit, even though this group is far more likely to have dependents and high financial commitments.

Some areas of the UK are shown to be less well-prepared than others. Adults in Liverpool are most likely to have made no arrangements, with 73% having no will, closely followed by Nottingham (69%) and Glasgow (68%).

Of those UK adults who have made a will, these individuals expect to leave an average of £227,000 in property and £74,000 in savings to loved ones when they die. Property assets have steadily increased since 2015, with property assets up by £5,000. However, savings are down by £2,000 from 2016.

Karen Barrett, CEO and founder of Unbiased, said: “It looks as if people still aren’t getting the message. The huge benefits of having a will, and the even bigger risks of not having one, should be far more widely known and talked about. People think a will is just for the end of their life, and it is – but who knows when that will be?

“It’s clear that many people think they’re just not ‘rich enough’ to need a will. This ignores the fact that a will makes inheritance a far quicker process – do they really want to keep their loved ones waiting longer, when that money might be badly needed? It also doesn’t take into account the complexity of modern families, which intestacy law simply doesn’t address. Children from previous marriages could end up receiving nothing at all.”

Find out how you can benefit from the October Free Wills Month. Plus see’s ‘I’m married, do I still need a will?’ and Death bed gifts: are they valid? for more information.

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  • Ruth Gilbert

    Even more of a problem for unmarried partners. 3.3m families headed by unmarried couples reported by ONS Nov 2016 and numbers still rising as a % of all households.

  • It’s a staggering number. As Karen says people just aren’t getting the message.

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