New research has revealed that 5.4m have no idea about the process of writing a will.
The study found that over half (54%) of the adult population do not have a will and when it comes to those with children, 59% of parents either have a will that is out of date or admit to having no will at all. While around a quarter (24%) of those without a will don’t intend to make one, 34% admitted that if they became ill, they would consider it.
Almost a third (31%) of those who did have a will had changed their circumstances significantly since it was signed, for example by getting married or having a baby, but over half (53%) had failed to update their will in the light of this.
Many were unaware that marriage invalidates a will made previously. The most common way of having a will written remains taking the traditional route of employing a solicitor. Two-thirds of those surveyed (68%) used legal assistance and a large majority were pleased with the service provided, with 85% saying it was quick and 90% saying it was easy. Meanwhile, the Telegraph’s Harry Brennan warns that millions of people are piling pressure on their families by not getting their affairs in order before they die. According to Direct Line, over half of the adult population of Britain – more than 29m people – have not written a will.
Constance McDonnell of Serle Court said the nation’s apathy towards wills was “frightening”. She warned: “It puts the administrator in a difficult position as they have a legal duty to find the closest next of kin and give them their money. They cannot resist this responsibility unless given permission by the courts.” Separately, an FT poll of financial advisers has found many are frustrated at wealthy clients for not bothering to make a will or lasting power of attorney – if they do it’s a cheap one unfit for purpose.