No will? No way! Over 38 million of us in the UK have not made plans for later life

Over 38 million people in the UK have not made any concrete plans for their financial needs in later life.

  • Only 36% of people across the UK have a will, with 35% not having yet considered writing one
  • 46% of people have had no conversations about financial wishes in the event of death
  • 59% of people think will-writing should be made easier

Over 38 million people in the UK have not made any concrete plans for their financial needs in later life. Of those, 20 million have considered aspects later life planning such as long-term illness, nursing or care home fees, and care of other close relatives, but have yet to actually put any formal plans in place, while a further 18 million have not even started to consider such concerns – according to new research from NS&I.

Not only that, over 33 million people in the UK do not have a will, and more than 18 million have not even considered writing one,

This is not say that the people in the UK don’t think this is a fundamental part of financial planning as 91% of people surveyed think that having a will is important, of which ‘reducing financial worries for family members’ is given as the most popular reason for making provisions in the event of their deaths – 56%.

The new data follows on from previous NS&I research in 2015 about financial education, where just under a third (31%) of people highlighted education on how to save or plan for retirement, as one of the most important topics they would like to see taught.

Previous NS&I research in 2015 about financial education

Planning for the future

Around three quarters of people aged 25-34 in the UK (72%) have considered making provisions for their finances in later life – the highest proportion of any age group. However, only 12% of this age group also report that they have already prepared a will.

Nearly half (46%) have yet to have any discussions about their financial future, of which 13% – over 6.5 million – declaring that they currently have no intention of doing so.

This is in line with NS&I’s findings last year, which suggested that 13% thought that making a will was one of the least-important financial topics to learn about.

When is the right time to make a will?

When those who have not yet put a will in place were asked why not, 41% – nearly 14 million people across the UK – said it was too early to think about writing one.

While the number giving this as a reason decreased as the age-groups got older, still a third of people (33%) aged 35-44, and one fifth of people aged 45-64 (21%) felt it was too soon for them to write a will.

Life events such as having children (23%) and getting married (20%) were given as the points at which planning a will would become most appropriate.  This is reflected by 76% of married people or those living with a partner, and 80% who are divorced, separated or widowed, having already prepared or considered preparing a will, compared to just 43% of those who have never been married.

59% think that access to will providers should be made easier, with do-it-yourself wills (52%) and being able to make a will online (46%) the most popular suggested solutions.

36% of people in the UK responded by saying that not having to use a solicitor, because of the time taken up, would make will-writing simpler.

However, solicitors are the most popular source for advice, guidance or information about making a will; 42% of respondents stating that their preference would be to discuss their will provisions with a legal professional.

This figure increases in the older age groups, with 59% of those aged 65+ stating that solicitors would be their preference for discussing will-writing. Yet, the cost of making one puts off around 29% of people aged 45-54 and 30% of people aged 55-64.

Jill Waters, NS&I’s Retail Director, said:

“Our research highlights that millions in the UK are putting off making a will or are yet to think about making one , which is concerning given the potential stress for family or loved ones when someone passes away.

“Our research shows that two fifths of the UK (41%) think that it’s too soon to be thinking about making a will and a further one in ten (9%) don’t wish to talk about such a topic with close relatives or friends. However, it’s never too soon and it’s good to talk and make your wishes clear.

“We’d always suggest to people to do their research when it comes to making a will and always look at what will suit you best. There are plenty of options in the market, but we would always recommend speaking to a trusted financial adviser, if appropriate, to help you come to the best possible decision, and make sure life is made a little bit easier for those closest to you at a difficult time.”

Emily Deane TEP, Technical Counsel at the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) added:

“Many people assume their possessions will simply pass automatically to their spouse or children, or they believe their assets are too insignificant to need a formal arrangement. But if you die without having made a will, the intestacy rules will be applied, which may be undesirable. The only certain way to ensure that your spouse, partner or relatives inherit in accordance with your wishes is by making a will.”

Notes to Editors

The Will Writing ‘Lifestyle’ section of the NS&I Quarterly Savings Survey was conducted by Populus among 2,123 UK adults aged 16+ between 5 and 7 August 2016.

The Financial Education section of the NS&I Savings Survey was conducted by TNS among 2,473 British adults aged 16+ between 30 July and 3 August 2015.

About NS&I

NS&I is one of the largest savings organisations in the UK, offering a range of savings and investments. All products offer 100% security, because NS&I is backed by HM Treasury.

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