An axe, a stuffed snake, and a tortoise: Survey reveals ‘weirdest’ assets left in wills

An axe, a stuffed snake, and a tortoise are just some of the “weirdest” assets people have been left in wills, new research has revealed.

The survey* found people had inherited various items ranging from a horse, to a bed, to a Victorian trumpet. However, the items deemed the “weirdest” included one sock and one shoe, a spade, and “my granny’s false teeth”.

Ben Furlong, Customer Services Director, Estatesearch, said:

“Inspired by the Bond film Skyfall, where M left James Bond a ‘Bulldog figurine’ in her Will, we also decided to find out what interesting or unusual items people had inherited.

Further answers included: a boat, a cutlery set, an egg timer, a penny, a torch, a handmade hair spray can cover, and a gun!”

The survey also evoked some more serious findings, namely that there is a clear gender disparity with well over half of male respondents confirming they have a will (54%) compared with only 41% of women.

Other findings included:

  • Over a third (38%) of people have made, updated, or considered making a will due to the COVID pandemic
  • Londoners are most likely to have a will (58%) while those in the North West are least likely (39%) compared to East Midlands 46%, East of England 46%, North East & Cumbria 43%, Scotland 48%, South East 49%, South West 51%, West Midlands 44%, Yorkshire & Humber 45%, Wales 43%
  • Younger people are less likely to have a will. For 18-24-year-olds, 38% of respondents have a will compared with just over half (51%) of 55-64 year olds and 70% of those over the age of 65
  • 40% of respondents in London store financial documents digitally compared with North East & Cumbria 29%, Scotland 27% and West Midlands 24%
  • 52% of respondents hadn’t or didn’t know if their will had been registered with a will registry service
  • If a spouse or significant other passed away, 35% of respondents said they would not be able to locate all their assets

“Although this question was designed to be lighthearted, our survey highlights the real challenges which families and their executors face when it comes to identifying and locating the assets of the deceased,” said Furlong, concluding:

“Over time, it’s easy to lose track of pension pots, premium bonds or life insurance policies. It is estimated that there is over £200 Billion in unclaimed assets in the UK including £1.45 Billion in banks and building societies and £3.4 Billion dormant assets in National Savings and Investments. In 2016, there was £15 Billion in unclaimed pension funds, while there are a further £640 Million in dormant share registrations.”

* Study of 2,000 UK residents conducted by independent market research firm Danebury Research on behalf of legal technology company, Estatesearch

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