Wills and probate market in full bloom, data suggests

New data has revealed the wills, trusts, and probate market is set to continue its encouraging growth over the next several years.

IRN Legal Reports’ UK Wills, Probate & Trusts Market 2022 report revealed that, in 2022, the market was valued at £2.49 billion – a 5.6% increase from the 2021 value of £2.36 billion.

It also represents a staggering 25% increase from the market value of £2 billion seen in 2018.

What’s more, IRN predict further growth of 5.2% in 2023, and they say the compound annual growth rate between 2022 and 2026 will be 4.6%.

Growth in the wills, probate & trusts market (£m) 2018 – 2022

While IRN concede the difficulty in obtaining hard data on the number of wills written each year, they are able to estimate market value through surveying firms and consumers tied up with official figures for probate and POAs (power of attorney).

The key drivers of growth, say IRN, is the continued ageing of the UK population: in 2021 31.6% of the UK population was 55 or over and this will increase to 33.2% by 2026.

People living longer so age-related diseases like dementia become much more common, and the report says this is driving the demand for POAs and guardianships. The trend is also encouraging more to use other services such as funeral planning, care home planning, and other related services.

Some 6,300 law firms in the UK are now offering will writing, with the “overwhelming majority” also offering probate advice as part of a “portfolio of advice services”, according to IRN, who add there are “some volume players, some specialists, and some focusing on high net worth individuals”.

Figure 6 The wills, probate and trust market by segment (£m), 2022 £m %
Will writing 477 19.1%
Probate 545 21.9%
Estate management 513 20.6%
Guardianship 421 16.9%
Other* 536 21.5%
Total 2,492 100.0%


As well as the smaller providers, there are a few volume players handling thousands of wills a year through direct sales as well as partnerships with membership bodies and trades unions, employee benefit schemes, working with charities, and white-label services.

Most of these, say IRN, will be offering a basic wills service at low cost or even free with the aim of encouraging clients to use other services such as estate administration, probate, LPAs advice, or services like funeral planning, living wills, care planning, or bereavement advice.

Specifically regarding probate, while the number of grants of representation issued has stabilised in 2022, there are still applications in the pipeline creating demand for advice, plus the contentious probate sector continues to grow in value.

This comes despite the latest figures for 2022 showing a further decline in deaths compared with this time last year. Specifically, deaths in England and Wales were estimated at 494,397 in the year up to the 11th November 2022 decreasing by 2.1% on 505,254 deaths in the same period in 2021.

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