WillSuite’s 2024 Annual Report reveals surprising trends in estate planning

The release of WillSuite’s 2024 Annual Report has provided a comprehensive look into the intricate landscape of will drafting across England and Wales. Drawing from data sourced from over 200,000 wills and 140,000 Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs), the report sheds light on key demographics, emerging trends, and notable statistics within the estate planning industry.

Charitable Legacies on the Rise

In 2023, 10.3% of wills included charitable donations, marking a notable rise from the previous year’s 8.82%. This trend correlates with a broader surge in charitable contributions across the UK, as reported by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).

Demographic Shifts in Charitable Giving

Analysing the gender and age dynamics of charitable giving, the report uncovers intriguing patterns. Women have shown a consistent trend of being approximately 10% more likely to include a charitable legacy in their wills compared to men. Additionally, the data suggests that as individuals age, they become increasingly inclined to leave charitable gifts in their wills.

Document Preferences and Popular Gifts

Wills continue to dominate the documents drafted through the software, constituting over 50%. Lasting Powers of Attorney make up over 35%, while other documents, such as letters of wishes and living wills, remain below 10%. The average age of a donor for LPAs is 67, showing a 9-year difference compared to the average age of a testator.

The most popular gifts in wills include cash, property, pets, and chattels, with other items like jewellery, watches, vehicles, collections, and medals following closely.

Exclusions and Funeral Arrangements

Approximately 10% of all wills contain exclusions, with men more likely to be excluded than women. Sons and daughters, along with stepsons and stepdaughters, are most commonly excluded, comprising nearly half of all exclusions. Cremation remains the favoured choice for funeral arrangements, specified in over half of all wills, while 37% do not contain specific instructions.

Organ Donation Insights

The report delves into organ donation wishes, revealing that 20.3% of testators pledged their organs for medical or scientific benefit. Eyes emerge as the most commonly excluded organ, reflecting potential concerns about appearance or discomfort with the concept of “seeing” after death.

Trustee Appointments

Professional trustees are appointed in only 5.2% of all wills in 2023. Partners acting as sole trustees make up 43% of all wills, indicating that partners are the preferred choice for executing estates.

Download the report: willsuite.co.uk/will-writing-software-report-2024

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