Will Aid

Will Aid Research 2015: Key FactsWill Aid Research  2015: Key Facts

Thomas Omondi/SCIAF Thomas Omondi/SCIAF


The commentary in this summary is for general guidance only and does not constitute legal advice. The laws relating to Wills, intestacy and inheritance rights vary across the UK. The rules in England and Wales differ from those in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Part 1: The following questions were asked of all 2259 respondents.

Have you made a Will?

  • There has been slight decline in the proportion of people saying they have written a Will, down by 1% on 2014 to 47%.
  • This means that, of the 51 million adults living in the UK[1], 27 million (53%) do not have a Will.
  • In the oldest age group (75-84), the percentage of respondents with a Will has increased from 82% in 2014 to 90% now. The 45-54 age group has increased by more than 4% to 47% while the 65-74 age group has also seen a small increase from 72 to 74%.
  • People in the South of the country, including the South East and the South West have the highest percentage of people with a Will, followed by East Anglia. Residents of Wales have the lowest proportion of people with a Will – 33%
  • 44% of those who are married or in a civil partnership have not written a Will
  • The percentage of separated people with a Will has dropped – 42.9% this year, down from 48.0% last year.
  • Almost 70% of cohabiting couples have no Will. This means that on death, the surviving partner would have no automatic right to inherit.
  • 57% of parents have no Will at all and a further 31%, whilst they do have a Will, have not named guardians.

Part 2: Questions put to the 1081 respondents with a Will

How did you make your most recent Will?

  • 66.3% used a solicitor to write their Will
  • Only 10.5% used a Will-writer – this figure has declined yearly since 2008
  • Online Wills account for 3.4% of respondents
  • 5.3% used a DIY kit from a shop
  • Homemade Wills have been made in 7.7% of cases
  • 5.9% have used the services of a bank or similar organisation

Solicitors are holding their ground well despite increased competition in the legal services market and are still by far the public's preferred supplier of Will writing services.

At what age did you make your first Will?

  • Nearly 30% of people made their first Will before reaching 35
  • Just 0.5% waited until they were over 75 before writing their first Will

In comparison with previous years' findings, this indicates that people are making their Wills earlier in life with over 55% of people doing so before their 45th birthday.

When did you last review your Will?

  • Nearly 48% of people with a Will have reviewed it in the last three years
  • 21.8% have never reviewed their Wills and a further 30% have not revisited it for over three years.
  • Since you made your last Will, have your circumstances changed in any of the following ways?
  • Overall, over 25% of people with a Will have had a change in circumstances (e.g. marriage, children, divorce) which might mean their most recent Will is either invalid or no longer reflects their wishes.

Have you named guardians for your children?

  • 31% of those parents with a Will have not named guardians for their children
  • When taking into account those parents who do not have a Will, over 88% of parents have not made this provision for their children.

What do you hope to pass on in your Will?

  • Almost 80% of people hope to pass on property and savings to their beneficiaries.
  • Additionally, over 50% want to leave jewellery and items of sentimental value.
  • How do you feel about leaving a charitable legacy?

Those who have made a Will

  • Over 25% of people with a Will have already left, or are intending to leave, a gift to charity in their Will.
  • 54% said they have never considered it
  • Just over 45% have no intention of leaving such a legacy

Those who have not made a Will

  • 9.3% are intending to leave a gift to charity in their Will.
  • 54% said they have never considered it
  • Just over 36% have no intention of leaving such a legacy

Part 3: Questions put to the 1197 respondents who have NOT made a Will

Is there any particular reason why you have not made a Will?

  • 51.6% say the reason they have not made a Will is because they have not got around it.
  • 12.4% believe it is not necessary to make a Will while 12.3% say they do not want to think about it
  • 22% believe they have nothing of value to leave
  • 16% think they are too young to need one.

NB: It was possible to give more than one answer to this question

Part 4: All 2259 respondents

Do you know where to find the Will of your nearest relatives?

  • 58% of people do not know where to find the Will of their nearest relatives.

Power of Attorney (asked to those over 55)

There is no legal connection between making a Will and having a lasting power of attorney drawn up. But many people choose to sort both of these important aspects of planning for the future and protecting their loved ones by writing a will at the same time.

Respondents aged over 55 were asked if they had nominated someone make decisions on their behalf about their property and financial affairs or health and welfare should they become incapable or unwilling to do so themselves. This is known as a Power of Attorney.

• Over 60% of respondents do not have a Power of Attorney – in the oldest age group (75-84), fewer than 40% have one.

[1] Total estimated UK population 64.6million. Adult population approximately 51 million www.ons.gov.uk