Will you make the cut: Co-op sees January peak in will amendments

As people focus on getting affairs in order for the New Year

January is typically seen as a month of cutting back and it seems that doesn’t stop at gym memberships and eating habits. Data from our Co-op Legal Services colleagues has led to predictions that, for some, the focus on keeping it lean this January may also include cutting beneficiaries out of their will.

Whether it’s down to Christmas conflicts or new family arrivals, Co-op saw a 71%¹ increase in will amendments in January 2017, compared to the previous month. The dramatic rise in alterations is considered to be partly down to increased time spent with family over Christmas, leading to a reconsideration about who will be receiving what, as well as a focus on getting affairs in order for the New Year. As well as changes to existing wills, Co-op Legal Services also saw a 58% increase in the number of new wills taken out in January 2017 compared to December the previous year.

With the ability to start making your will, Lasting Power of Attorney and funeral plan online with the Co-op, it’s now become easier than ever for people to plan for the later stages of their life.

Whilst more than a third of Co-op’s wills business now comes from its online channel (35%)² data from the provider of later life products and services reveals that there is still a huge financial planning gap to close in 2018. Across the UK: - 45%³ of UK adults do not have a will - Of the 55% of adults who do have a will, whilst January sees a spike in amendments, many adults admit to never having updated their will meaning that it could be ineffective - 84% of UK adults don’t have a Lasting Power of Attorney - 93% of UK adults have yet to make a funeral plan meaning their families will be exposed to rising funeral costs and uncertainty about their loved one’s wishes in the future

Commenting, James Antoniou, Head of Wills at Co-op said:

‘’Christmas brings people together but it can also lead to conflicts and family fallouts - as a result of this we tend to see a peak in will amendments coming through in January.

“The rise in new enquiries is also common at this time of year, following on from a holiday period people have often had time to reflect and consequently make the decision to start to get their finances in order for the New Year.’’

Caroline Jones, Head of Propositions for Co-op Funeralcare and Later Life Planning said:

‘’The importance of later life planning is still not widely recognised and it tends to be something that people put off. We however have started to see a positive shift, with an increase in later life planning over the course of 2017 – something we encourage to prevent added stress for loved ones further down the line.’’

¹Taken from Co-op Legal services business data for January 2017 vs. December 2016 
²Co-op Legal Services data – October 2016-July 2017
³Research conducted on behalf of Co-op by Atomik among 2,000 UK adults in May 2017
⁴Figures provided by Cancer Research UK. For further information please visit http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-us/how-we-are-run/annual-report-and-accounts

For further information contact

Alexandra Wilson

Press and Media Relations Manager

Sarah Pyatt

Press Officer