coffin with a lady in black

Brits would ‘rather watch TV’ than write their will as new data reveals half of UK adults haven’t written a will

According to a UK membership body for lawyers nearly ‘half of UK adults’ haven’t made a will, and almost a third would ‘rather watch TV’ than work on their final wishes.

The Association of Lifetime Lawyers, formerly known as Solicitors for The Elderly, is urging people to consider the risks of not having a will in place following a survey of 2,008 people taken by the organisation last month.

The survey revealed  that 48% of adults aged over 30 in the UK who don’t have a will say it’s on their to-do list, with 43% saying it’s been on their to-do list for over 12 months. The data also shows that 49 per cent of UK adults don’t have a will in place at all – meaning that their final wishes might not be carried out when they die.

One in 10 UK adults have started making a will but haven’t finished it, and 32% say they haven’t made a will because they don’t know how to get started. The survey suggests that almost a quarter of UK adults who have making a will on their to-do list, ‘would prioritise watching TV over getting a will in place’.

Kirsty Limacher, Chief Legal Officer of The Association of Lifetime Lawyers says these findings ‘could leave many bereaved families distressed if their loved ones haven’t communicated their wishes legally through a will.’

Limacher said: “We all know how important this type of life admin is, but our research shows just how hard people find it to get started. It doesn’t need to take a long time to prepare or update your will, especially if you have an expert to guide you through the process. And it’s time well spent, reducing the burden on your loved ones after your death, and reducing the risk of disputes that can be costly in time and money to resolve.

“Many people think they’re too young to write a will, and understandably don’t like to think about the worst that could happen, but our members often have to deal with cases where a badly drafted or non-existent will has caused undue distress to those left behind.

“Our research shows 21% of wills are handwritten or have handwritten amendments which could make them illegible and therefore difficult to understand. To get your will right, it’s always safest to speak to a specialist, like an Accredited Lifetime Lawyer, who can help you plan for the future and communicate your wishes in the right way.

“It’s best practise to review and update your will every five years or when a major change in your life occurs that impacts you or your loved ones, such as a marriage or civil partnership, divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership, a new birth, a death in your family, or if you or one of your beneficiaries has obtained a Gender Recognition Certificate.”

If an individual dies without a will, the distribution of their estate is determined by as the intestacy rules and regulations. These rules prioritise specific family members but do not consider the individual wishes regarding friends or charitable organisations. Consequently, without a will, clients relinquish control over the allocation of their estate, potentially excluding individuals that hold significance.

According to the LifetimeLawyers site:

“Without a will in place, clients could cause family financial hardship, worry and even costly legal bills if there is any confusion or disagreement after death.

“Many people believe that creating a will is something you do when you’re old. However, the truth is that you are never too young to start considering the importance of drafting a will. Irrespective of your age, having a will is crucial for safeguarding the interests of your loved ones and ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your preferences.

“For a will to be valid, the person making the will must be aged 18 or over and have mental capacity.”

In 2018, The Institute of Professional Will Writers (IPW), reported that ‘60% of UK adults hadn’t written a will’.

According to the research from, a fifth of this proportion felt they didn’t have sufficient assets to make a Will worthwhile, whilst 26% stated that they planned to make one later in life. Some said that the need to make a Will hadn’t even occurred to them, whilst others said they wouldn’t know where to start – mirroring the sentiments of this year’s survey almost six years later.

The IPW suggested a ‘multi-faceted’ approach to educating clients, saying:

“The best way to boost awareness is – in simple terms – to engage with your audience. There’s a range of ways to do this, and whilst none is necessarily more effective than another, the best thing to do is adopt a multi-faceted approach. By educating prospective clients through traditional methods as well using fresh digital means, you’re able to engage with a whole new audience that you previously would never have reached.”

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