More than half of British adults are following in the footsteps of the late music legends Aretha Franklin and Prince in having made no will, a new survey has revealed.
The study, carried out by Will Aid, the charity will-writing campaign that takes place every November, found that 53% of adults have not prepared this vital piece of paperwork, up from 51% in 2017.
Across the United Kingdom, some regions are far worse than others. In Northern Ireland, more than 74% of those questioned admitted they had no will, revealing a dramatic increase of 10% since people were polled in 2017.
In England, the North East and North West fared the worst, with 58% of people admitting they don’t have a will.
In fact, only three of the 13 regions in the UK have scored better than when polled in 2017. Yorkshire is the most organised region with just 43% of people admitting they don’t have a will.
Peter de Vena Franks, campaign director for Will Aid, said: ‘Every year we carry out a poll to work out how many Britons have no will in place and the figures are always surprising.
‘To see that the percentage of people without a will increased this year is all the more reason to stress the importance of taking the time to make a will.
‘Will Aid is a fantastic way to tick this important piece of paperwork off your to-do list whilst also making a real difference with a charitable donation.’
Making a legally valid will is the only way to be sure that, in the event of your death, your money and possessions go to the people and causes you care about. If you die without a will the laws of intestacy determine who will inherit and this may not be who you would expect. If you do not make a will, those you leave behind may suffer the distress of coping with legal complications as well as losing a loved one.
Many married people believe that their possessions will automatically go to their partner but without a will, that is not necessarily the case.
If they are not married, their partner could receive nothing. For those with young children, or who are the legal carer for a dependent older child or relative, writing your will is even more important as you will need to appoint legal guardians for them in the event of your death.
James Tarleton, Chair of Will Aid said:
‘2018 marks 30 years since the start of Will Aid and this year’s statistics show that, even after three decades, there is still a need for this campaign and to encourage more people to make their will.
“Not only does making your will through Will Aid provide peace of mind, by using a professional solicitor, but the nine partner charities use the donations and legacies from will makers to reach people in crisis, both here in the UK and all around the world.
‘As well as making a donation, many people who make their wills through Will Aid use this opportunity to provide support to their favourite charities through a gift in their will.
These legacies make a great difference and we are very thankful for those who choose to support our work in this way.’
It is Will Aid Month in November and those without a will are encouraged to write one with the help of a professional solicitor through Will Aid. Law firms volunteer their time and expertise to write basic wills, waiving their fee, with clients being invited to make a voluntary donation to Will Aid instead (£95 for a single will and £150 for a pair of mirror wills).
Last year Will Aid raised more than £1.25 million for its charity partners – ActionAid, Age UK, British Red Cross, Christian Aid, NSPCC, Save the Children, Sightsavers, SCIAF (Scotland) and Trocaire (Northern Ireland).
For more information or to book a November Will slot, please call Will Aid on: 0300 0309 55 or visit their website at: www.willaid.org.uk/will-makers