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NO WILL, NO WAY? Majority of Brits don’t have a Will

Richard Dearden
Written by
Richard Dearden
NO WILL, NO WAY? Majority of Brits don’t have a Will

Most plan to leave money to loved ones but haven’t yet written down their wishes 

  • 72% of respondents plan to leave money to loved ones after they have passed 
  • 78% recognise that without a Will it can take longer for Beneficiaries to receive their inheritance  
  • In 2022 48% of UK adults have a Will written, whereas this was 55% in 2020 
  • Women are less likely to have a Will than men (56% don’t versus 49% of men) 
  • The Northeast is the UK’s ‘no Will capital’, with 63% of residents not having one yet 
  • One of five (21%) who do have a Will wrote it themselves, without guidance from a professional Will Writer or Solicitor – this is known as a DIY Will 
  • Four in ten (39%) are unaware of the specific risks associated with DIY Wills, while 11% think these are entirely risk-free 
  • Further information from Tower Street Finance’s report can be found at: The Inheritance Index – Tower Street Finance

Over half of Brits (52%) don’t have a written Will in place despite the majority (72%) planning to leave money to friends and family. What’s more, three-quarters (78%) recognise that without a Will it can take longer for a Beneficiary to receive their inheritance.  

The figures come from new research by the Probate Lending experts at Tower Street Finance, who also discovered that, overall fewer people have a Will now than in 2020 (48% versus 55%), and women are less likely to have one than men. 

Their study compared data from a survey run with 2,000 UK adults in Autumn 2020, with figures from a new survey run in October this year – to see how things have changed in the last two years. 

‘I have made a Will’ (by region) 

  1. London (55%) 
  2. Scotland and East of England (52%) 
  3. East Midlands (51%) 
  4. Southwest (50%) 
  5. Yorkshire and the Humber (49%) 
  6. Northern Ireland (47%) 
  7. Northern West and Southeast (45%) 
  8. Wales (39%) 
  9. Northeast (37%)

The Northeast of England is the UK’s current ‘no Will capital’ (63% don’t have one), while Londoners are the most likely to have written one already (55% said ‘yes’). 

Of those who do have a Will in place, six in ten (61%) did so with the support of a solicitor, and one in six (17%) with help from a professional Will writer. 

One in five (21%) had written theirs without any expert guidance though – this is known as a DIY Will. 

London came out as a hotspot for DIY Wills (15% of residents have one), and Londoners are also the most likely to believe there are no risks associated with these (18%). 

Nationwide, one in ten (11%) believe DIY Wills are risk-free, while four in ten (39%) think there could be some risks with these but aren’t sure what they are. 

Half (50%) recognise that a DIY Will could slow down the Probate process or even prevent their wishes from being followed. 

Jim Sisson, Finance Director at and Co-Founder Tower Street Finance added:  

“A Will is one of the most important documents anyone creates in their lifetime. A properly constructed Will allows certainty of how an individual’s Estate will be dealt with after they have passed away. That said, our latest research suggests less than half of the adult population has one.    

“Anyone can write a Will, and there are many do-it-yourself solutions available. However, many Solicitors have been advising caution with DIY Wills – which are increasingly popular – as these can lead to disputes and other issues down the line. 

“Ultimately, a Will is a legal document, and whilst a Court can “look through” a Will and try to ascertain an individual’s intentions, it can be tricky to follow through on wishes if any of the wording is a bit vague or there are any contradictions. A properly drafted Will can avoid these difficulties though, so – unless a person’s affairs are very simple – we recommend seeking professional advice regarding Wills and Estate Planning.  

“Here at Tower Street Finance we recognise that challenging a Will can be a costly exercise and quite often, the person that needs to challenge the Will does not have the money to do so – in some cases the money needed is tied up in the inheritance they are expecting to get. Therefore, we designed our Inheritance Dispute Funding solution to help.   

Other interesting insights from the research

The majority (64%) said they plan to leave money or valuables to their children (64%), and half of people (49%) also plan to name their partner or spouse in their Will. 

People now expect to inherit money or valuables worth a total of £334k over their lifetime, which is 56% more than two years ago when people expected to inherit money or valuables worth £214k. 

However, many could be left disappointed as the estimated total value of an Estate has dropped by 23.5% in the last two years from £289k in 2020 to £221k in 2022. 

Three in ten (29%) said that if they inherited money in the next 12 months, they’d use it to cover living costs – this is more than four times as many than in 2020 (7%). 

Interestingly, more (31%) would take a holiday with it – nearly twice as many than in 2020 (18%). 

On average, Brits believe it takes around 8 months to receive money they’ve inherited when in fact experts advise that, because the Probate process can be complicated, it currently takes 9-12 months before a Beneficiary will receive any money from an Estate. 

A third (34%) also don’t know what the process is for receiving an inheritance and nearly a quarter (23%) admitted they don’t know who is responsible for paying in inheritance tax. 

For further information about this research please visit: The Inheritance Index – Tower Street Finance 

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