Over half of adults do not have a will

25th October 2023

New research from Canada Life has found that over half of UK adults (57%) do not have a will, equating to approximately 30.4m people. Of this, 12% said they have no intention of making a will in the future. A third (33%) of adults who are aged 55 or over have not yet made a will

The findings are released during free wills month in October, during which many charities and organisations offer a free will writing service to the public.

For those who do not have a will, the top reasons for not making one include not having enough wealth or assets to warrant making a will (25%), the belief that they have plenty of time to make a will (22%), not knowing what to do with assets or estate (16%), the belief that loved ones will inherit automatically (15%). Whilst 14% do not understanding the process of making a will.

Stacey Love, Technical Manager – Tax, Trusts and Estate Planning, Canada Life said “If you are someone who worries about the cost of making a will, now is the time to speak to one of the numerous organisations which offer a free will writing service. This takes place twice a year in March and October, so if you miss out this time, you’ll have another opportunity in a few months.”

“However, it’s important not to delay writing a will if possible. At any age, dying without a valid will in place can be a huge burden on your loved ones at a time when they may already be vulnerable and struggling to cope.”

“It’s human nature that we don’t want to think about death but writing a will can be a huge weight off yours and your loved one’s shoulders. Don’t be afraid of having an open conversation about it with those you want to leave an inheritance to. A professional financial or legal adviser can be invaluable for offering independent advice and guidance.”

Although men (41%) and women (40%) are equally likely to have a will in place, among those that don’t have a will, women are twice as likely to say a reason for not having a will is they don’t have enough assets to make a will (women 32% vs 17% of men).

A fifth of 55+ year olds (21%) who haven’t arranged a will yet, say it is because they don’t know what to do with their assets, more than any other age.