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60% of people don’t have a will

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Over half (60%) of UK adults don’t have a will, according to research from 

This is an all-time high, passing the previous peak in 2011. Over 31 million now run the risk of dying intestate and having their estate distributed solely according to intestacy law. This is a particular problem for those with step families, or who live together unmarried.

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%) don’t have a will. The 35-54 age group are notable laggards. In spite of having dependents and major financial commitments, three quarters have not laid out how they want their assets to be distributed.

Over a quarter (26%) of those surveyed said they plan to make a will later in life. This is 3% higher than last year. One in ten (11%) said they were put off by the cost of writing a will.

Of those who have made a will, individuals expect to leave an average of £227,000 in property and £74,000 in monetary savings 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.

Assets allocated via wills 2015 average value 2016 average value 2017 average value
Property £222,000 £224,000 £227,000
A business £109,000 £87,000 £103,000
Tangible assets e.g. paintings, jewellery £33,000 £25,000 £27,000
Monetary savings e.g. cash, national savings, pension £64,000 £76,000 £74,000

 Some areas of the UK are 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%).

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.”

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