Some facts and figures about Wills

For the analytically inclined, I’d like this week to lay out, in numbers, a picture of Britain’s comparative ‘unpreparedness’ with respect to end of life by demonstrating some facts about Wills.

  • You probably haven’t got an up to date will. 

31 million people in the UK have no will, 84% of those under 35 have no will and 60% overall, lack an up to date will. 

  • You probably won’t correct this until something horrible happens. 

The number of people without a will is actually rising (around 6% per year). Of our client base, less than 15% are simply ‘getting around to it’, when making a will. The three most common triggers for will creation are: diagnosis of illness; death of a family member and terrorist action/pandemic.  

  • You probably think you don’t need a will right now. 

You probably won’t get his by a bus tomorrow. It’s true, take comfort in the fact that, actuarily, you’re around two million to one on, to avoid fatal bus impact all year! Less, fun are the odds of ultimately dying from cancer (20%) or cardiovascular issues (40%). Nobody needs a will until they absolutely need it, at which time its absence may prove catastrophic.

For completeness, death by coconut is visited upon one in 250 million of we poor, benighted islanders!

  • The consequences of lacking a will may be far reaching for those you leave.

Even setting aside the risk of your loved one’s struggling financially on your death; I tell my clients that around half of a will’s function is conflict mitigation. Arguments around bereavement tend to be explosive. Not only can they fracture families, their financial impact can destroy estates. There were around 10,000 attempts to block wills last year. 25% of people report willingness to challenge a will if they feel treated unfairly. The mean cost of a court challenge to a will is £150,000. Even more concerningly, the pre-court costs of conflict are estimated to be £20,000. Court cases rose by 60% prior to Covid.

  • It’s later than you think. 

If you plan to make a will, you need to do it: 1. Before you die and 2. Before you lose mental capacity. As a population we expect to live to around 80. But such statistics are poorly understood, and fail to speak to the fate of the individual, for whom death is binary. Few realise that their chance of dying within 10-years nudges 10% at only around 55. These are not ‘national lottery’ odds and loss is total. These numbers don’t even capture those who will lose mental capacity. One person a minute in the UK suffers TBI, dementia diagnosis or stroke.  

The cost in time and money of making a robust will, is tiny in comparison to the costs of not having one. Nobody likes to think about this. The very best advice I can give you is ‘begin’, a good professional will guide you and ensure you reach the end of the process.

Speak to our client advice team now on 0121 202 4714 or click here and we’ll call you.