Will-writing charity reveals shocking number of adults do not have a Will

23 Oct, 2023

A shocking 59% of UK adults do not have paperwork in place to protect their loved ones after they are gone, a national Will-writing charity has revealed.

A poll, commissioned by Will Aid and involving around 2,200 people across the country, showed that only 29% had an up-to-date Will – with the majority admitting they haven’t got anything in place at all.

What’s more, the cost-of-living crisis appears to have had an effect of people taking action with figures increasing , with 54% of participants without a Will in 2022, and 49% in 2021.

Many participants cited cost as their reason for not instructing a solicitor to write a Will on their behalf, while others said time was a factor or they were simply reluctant to think about the end of their life and had therefore postponed writing a Will.

Peter de Vena Franks, Will Aid Campaign Director, said: “We understand that nobody likes to think about death and the thought of considering your final wishes can be daunting – but actually, this is about a final loving act for those you care about.

“After all, having a Will means there is a clear plan of action to follow, and clear guidance for your family after you are gone. A Will also minimises confusion between family members and other beneficiaries.

“The statistics on up-to-date Wills are also concerning. Situations change and its vital to keep on top of your documents to make sure they still reflect your circumstances.”

Solicitor Trusha Velji, director of Touch Solicitor Ltd has updated her own Will eight times.

The law firm in Oldham has taken part in Will Aid for the last 14 years and says it is the perfect opportunity to help people get their affairs in order.

She said: “Making a Will is such an important undertaking to protect your loved ones from unnecessary distress at an already upsetting time.

“But keeping that Will up to date is equally important especially after having more children or buying a house, getting a divorce or during a time of ill health.

“If you die without having drafted a Will then your estate might be distributed in a way that does not align with your best intentions.”

Shak Inayat is the Principal Solicitor of Penn Chambers Solicitors, a boutique specialist law firm in the City of London.

He said a Will was also vital to protect those people who live together but are not married.

“Many people assume that after living together for a period of time, they then become common law husband and wife. That ceased to be the case a very long time ago. Certainly since 1753, marriages not witnessed by a pastor or bishop were banned and thus the concept of common law husband and wife effectively ceased to exist.

“If you are cohabiting as a couple, the law does not recognise you as a common law spouses, even if you have children together and even if you have lived together for many years. Therefore, if you do not have a Will the Rules of Intestacy will apply and your partner would then be completely disregarded.

“Will Aid is a superb initiative which targets the millions of people in the UK who do not have a Will and allows them access to a professional to draw up this important document so this is a great opportunity to resolve your inheritance issues and help charities whilst saving money all at the same time.”

The annual Will Aid campaign sees solicitors across the UK volunteering their time to write Wills throughout November.

Will Aid is a partnership between the legal profession and nine of the UK’s best-loved charities. The initiative, which has been running for more than 30 years, sees participating solicitors waive their fee for writing basic Wills every November. Instead, they invite clients to make a voluntary donation to Will Aid – a suggested £100 for a single basic Will and £180 for a pair of basic ‘mirror’ Wills.

Donations to the campaign are shared by Will Aid’s nine partner charities, which operate both here in the UK and around the world.

For more information on Will Aid and how to get involved visit www.willaid.org.uk.