Wills: the facts and figures

The number of people writing wills has increased in recent years – with 48 percent of adult respondents to a survey saying they have written a will, which is good news.

The survey, carried out in 2014 by Lightspeed Research for the charity Will Aid, surveyed some 2,250 people aged 25 to 84 and from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Here are some further interesting findings from the research:

  • 48 percent of adults say they have written a will (an increase of 4 percent and the highest percentage of people saying they have written a will since the survey was first run in 2006.
  • The greatest increase in percentages of people writing a will in the younger age group (aged 25-34) where the percentage has doubled, up from 11.6 percent in 2013.
  • But it is only in the over-55 age group where a significant majority has made a will.
  • In terms of geography, Northern Ireland still has the lowest percentage of people with a will and the south and east of England has the highest percentage of people with wills.
  • 55 percent of people who are married or in a civil partnership have written a will, while the number of separated people with wills has increased (48 percent, compared to 41.3 percent the year before).
  • Worryingly though, 56 percent of parents do not have a will at all and a further 23 percent have a will but have not named guardians – which means that 79 percent of parents with dependent children haven’t named guardians for them.
  • For the people in the survey who did have a will – 68 percent chose a solicitor to write their will, 12 percent used a will writer, 6 percent used a DIY will kit and 6 percent a home-made will.
  • More than 25 percent made their first will between the ages of 30 and 39 years, 18 percent when they were between 20 and 29 and 13 percent made their first will when they were over the age of 60.
  • Motivation for making or updating a will varied according to age – for those aged between 25 and 44 they wanted to provide for their loved ones, respondents aged between 45 and 64 were reacting to changes in family circumstances such as births, deaths, divorces etc. and the older age group wanted to ensure their affairs were in order.
  • But of people who had written a will, almost 60 percent of those hadn’t written a new will or updated an old one for more than five years and 21 percent hadn’t checked their will still reflected their wishes in more than ten years.

Leaving a will and ensuring it reflects your current wishes and family circumstances is very important. The family of Rik Mayall can certainly testify to that, as sadly the comedian did not leave a will which means his family could face inheritance tax charges of thousands on his £1.2 million estate.

Age is no barrier to accident and illness, so as an adult you are never too young to write a will, and unfortunately dying intestate is all too common – of the 50 million adults living in the UK, 26 million (52 percent) have not written a will.

Here at Finders International, it’s our job to find rightful next of kin to an intestacy (when unknown or unconfirmed) or the heirs to a Will where the information stated is out of date and has failed to identify or locate the correct beneficiaries.