02 Oct 2017

  • Over one in two UK adults still haven’t made a will.
  • Of the 60 per cent who have no will, over a fifth believe they don’t have enough assets to make it worthwhile.
  • Families in Liverpool most likely to suffer consequences of a close relative having no will.


Over half (60%) of UK adults are currently without a will, according to new research out today from Unbiased.co.uk1.  

The number of people without a will in the UK is at an all-time high, passing the previous peak in 20112. It means that over 31 million now run the risk of dying intestate and having their estate distributed solely according to intestacy law, which may not reflect their wishes.

With age comes wisdom

Those aged 55 and over are three times more likely to have a will than those aged 18-34. However, even in this age group more than a third (37%) are still without one. The most striking figure, however, is from the 35-54 age group. This is the group most likely to have dependents and other major financial commitments such as mortgages, yet nearly three quarters have taken no steps to ensure their loved ones would inherit according to their wishes.


Percentage who have a will

55 +


35 - 54


18 - 34



“I will make a will… but not yet.”

What excuses do people give for not having a will? The most popular reason was the procrastinator’s response: over a quarter (26%) said they planned to make one later in life. Last year the figure was 23%, so the number saying ‘I’ll do it later’ is actually going up as time goes by.




I plan to make a will when I’m older


I don’t think I will have any estate/assets left to be worth writing a will


It never occurred to me


I can’t afford the cost of setting up a will


I don’t know how to go about writing a will



One in ten (11%) said they were put off by the cost of writing a will. These respondents seemed unaware that it would cost their relatives far more to sort out their estate, if they were to die without a will.

What are people leaving behind in their wills?

Turning to those UK adults who have made a will, these individuals expect to leave an average of £191,000 in property and £63,000 in monetary savings to loved ones when they die. Property assets have seen a steep decline since 2016, and are now even below the 2015 figure of £205,000. However, savings are up by over £5,000 from 2016.

Assets allocated via wills

2015 average value

2016 average value

2017 average value





A business




Tangible assets e.g. paintings, jewellery




Monetary savings e.g. cash, national savings, pension





Where is worst at making wills?

Some areas of the UK are shown to be less well-prepared than others. Adults in Liverpool are most likely to have made no arrangements, with 73 per cent having no will, closely followed by Nottingham (69 per cent) and Glasgow (68 per cent). These findings indicated that there are whole cities where the majority run the risk of dying intestate.

Top ten major cities by percentage of UK adults without a will









Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester















Karen Barrett, CEO and founder of Unbiased said, “It looks as if people still aren’t getting the message. The huge benefits of having a will, and the even bigger risks of not having one, should be far more widely known and talked about. People think a will is just for the end of their life, and it is – but who knows when that will be?

“It’s clear that many people think they’re just not ‘rich enough’ to need a will. This ignores the fact that a will makes inheritance a far quicker process – do they really want to keep their loved ones waiting longer, when that money might be badly needed? It also doesn’t take into account the complexity of modern families, which intestacy law simply doesn’t address. Children from previous marriages could end up receiving nothing at all.

“People tend not to think about wills, because they don’t like to think about death. But what 60% of Brits should certainly think about is the headache and expense they will cause their families if they die intestate. At best, it will be inconvenient; at worst, it could trigger bitter disputes and lead to some loved ones missing out entirely. Yet it’s so easy to prevent this from happening – a quick consultation with a solicitor is all it may take.

“Your will is your last chance to make your mark on the world. Whether giving sentimental items to family and friends, or leaving charitable gifts, your final wishes help to shape how people will remember you. No-one should miss out on this chance to leave a proper legacy.”

To search for a solicitor, financial adviser, mortgage adviser or accountant, visit unbiased.co.uk.


Notes to Editors

1Research conducted by Opinium Research 22-25 September 2017 2,001 online interviews with UK adults. Our sample has been weighted to reflect a nationally representative audience.

2Opinium Research carried out an online poll of 2,017 British adults from 7th – 10th October 2011. 

For more information contact:

Frederica Saunders, Lansons: 020 7294 3620, [email protected]

About Unbiased

Connecting millions to great advice, Unbiased is the place to find advisers you can trust. As the UK’s advice marketplace, we list over 26,000 regulated and independent financial advisers, mortgage advisers, solicitors and accountants. Offering the most versatile and powerful search available, we also make it easy to find the right advice by providing consumer-friendly information, guides and tools.


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