Gap in end of year planning

New study reveals 30 million UK adults are without a will

A new study reveals there's a gap in end of life planning and that 30 million UK adults are without a Will.
  • 60% of UK adults don’t have a Will
  • 1 in 4 of those with a Will left it until after age 55 to write one
  • 91% of people don’t have a Funeral Plan

Almost two thirds, (60 percent) of UK adults do not have a Will and could be at risk of losing control over their estate if they die, according to a joint study released today by The Co-operative Funeralcare and The Co-operative Legal Services.

When looking in more details at those who made a Will, the research shows the average age they first wrote their Will was 42. However the figures also highlight that 1 in 4 left it until after the age of 55, to write their first Will.

The findings reveal the most common triggers that prompt people to think about a Will with the most common reason being reaching a milestone age (26%). Having a child (19%), the death of relative (17%) and purchasing of a property (16%) are also some of the most cited reasons.

Despite the fact that life events such as marriage, divorce and the death of a spouse can significantly impact the effectiveness of a Will, the majority of those with a Will (55%) have never updated their wishes. Almost a third of people (29%) admitting they simply just haven’t got round to it.

The main events which have promoted people into updating their Will include the arrival of children and grandchildren, the reaching of a certain age, and the death of a relative.

Most common triggers for Will updates:
  • Arrival of grandchildren 19%
  • Reach a milestone age 18%
  • Birth of a child 15%
  • Death of a relative 13%
  • Bought a property 11%
  • Got separated/divorced 9%
  • Inherited some money 9%
  • Got remarried 8%
  • Health scare/issue 5%
  • Got married for first time 5%

James Antoniou, Head of Wills, for The Co-operative Legal Services comments: “The research shows a worrying gap in end of life planning, potentially leaving millions of relatives and families facing additional stress and confusion whilst grieving for the loss of a loved one.

“With over 30 million people in the UK yet to write a Will, the research suggests that we’re a nation who tend to bury our heads in the sand when it comes to end of life planning. “In order to ensure that people’s wishes are clear about who they want to benefit from their estate, it is crucial they take the right advice and put an effective will in place.

“It’s also worrying that over half of people who have wills have never updated them. Depending on the way a will has been drafted, a marriage, a divorce or the death of a spouse can make the will ineffective.”

The findings also reveals that 91 per cent of adults do not have a funeral plan in place. Whilst perhaps not surprising that younger people have not yet considered this, the research highlights that over four fifths (83%) of over 65 year-olds are yet to make any plans for their funeral.

David Collingwood, Director of Operations for The Co-operative Funeralcare comments: “In our experience many people find opening up and talking to their loved ones about death extremely difficult.

"By putting a funeral plan in place you can make your own decisions and plan your funeral exactly the way you want it rather than haver your family make those decisions on your behalf when the times does come.

“Doing this can take additional stress and financial burden away from your loved ones at an extremely difficult time.”

For further information contact

Emily Penkett

PR Manager

Lauren Pogson

Senior PR Manager

Catherine Turner

Head of PR