• November 28, 2023
 Will ownership stagnates as apathy reigns supreme

Will ownership stagnates as apathy reigns supreme

New research has revealed that will ownership in the UK has stagnated over the past three years with consumer apathy remaining a key reason for the lack of take-up.

According to consumer research from IRN Legal Reports within the wills and probate market in November 2022, 35% of the adult population – or roughly 18.6 million – have made a will. This is the same level as 2019 and one percentage point less than the 36% ownership seen in 2020.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the research suggested adults increasingly consider making a will as they grow older. 61% of adults aged 65+ report having a will and 43% of those aged between 55 and 64. Below 55, will ownership dips dramatically to 31% in the 45 to 54 age band and eventually slipping to just 8% in the 18 to 24 group. Regionally, will ownership is highest in the South West.

Of those with a will, one in 10 wrote it within the last 12 months, meaning some 1.86 million wills were created within the last year. Encouragingly, a higher percentage of young people wrote a will within the last year compared with the survey average – 18% of 18-24-year-olds, 19% of 25-34-year-olds, and 17% of 35-44-year-olds.

Why are people not writing a will?

The most common reason for not writing a will is that the respondent has “just not got round to it yet”, with 45% citing this reason, though this is the lowest number of people that have cited this reason within the previous four surveys.

Tied for second with 21% was the respondent feeling they are too young to make a will and the respondent feeling they have no assets to pass on when they die.

This is followed by “I know that I need to make a will and will do so in the next few months,” with 16%. Interestingly, just 9% said the cost was prohibitive – down from 13% in 2019 despite the ongoing cost of living crisis.

9% said they thought their assets would pass to their nearest relative by default upon their death so did not make a will. 7% said they had no dependents or other persons to pass assets onto so did not see the need for a will. 4% said they didn’t understand the purpose of a will to help their situation. 5% did not know why they had no will.

Jamie Lennox, Editor, Today's Wills and Probate

Editor of Today's Conveyancer, Today's Wills and Probate, and Today's Family Lawyer Contact LinkedIn jamie.lennox@todaysmedia.co.uk Twitter