Number of adults without a will hits 29.5 million

24 Oct 2011

  • Over 29.5 million Britons are currently without a will
  • One in five Brits expect to leave over £10,000 in savings when they pass away
  • For more than one in ten who do not have a will, writing one has never occurred to them
  • 10% of Brits without a will believe their estate will go to the right people automatically
  • 24 October marks the start of ‘Write a Will Week’, the professional advice website, today announced the launch of its annual

‘Write a Will Week’ – beginning on Monday 24 October.’s research* reveals there are now over 29.5 million adults (60%) without a will in place. Yet, one in five (22%) Brits expect to leave over £10,000 in savings when they pass away.

More than eight in every ten (84%) 18 – 34 year olds do not have a will in place, falling to two thirds (65%) of those aged between 35 – 54.  Worryingly, over a third (35%) of those over 55 are still without a will in place. 

What about the other half?

Surprisingly, 48% of married adults do not currently have a will, despite the fact that under current rules a spouse or civil partner may only inherit £250,000 if there is no will in place and there are children or grandchildren. Over two thirds (67%) of those who live together but who aren’t married have savings to leave to family and friends and 54% of unmarried UK adults living with a partner intend to leave a propertyto a loved one, yet their partner will get nothing at all if there is no will in place. 

Under the rules of intestacy, when a person dies without leaving a valid will, their property (the estate) must be shared out according to certain rules. Only married or civil partners and some other close relatives can inherit under the rules of intestacy.

Where there’s a will there’s a way

Apathy remains the number one reason for not writing a will, with a quarter of those without a will (25%) stating they plan to make one when they get older, and 11% saying it never occurred to them.  Almost one fifth (17%) don’t think they have anything of value to leave behind and optimistically one in ten (10%) without a will believe their estate will go to the right people automatically.

Although the average cost of seeking legal advice to write a will can be as low as £120 for singles and £200 for couples**, over one in ten (11%) have not done so because they are worried about the cost involved.  In addition 5% of those who don’t have a will, state the complicated process as the reason for not having made one.

Karen Barrett, Chief Executive of says, Thinking about the possibility of something bad happening to you is never an easy topic but nonetheless, it is hugely important.  Our research clearly shows that the nation is gripped by ‘wills apathy’, whether that is putting it off until they are older or incorrectly believing their estate will automatically go to the right people.

“This is our third annual ‘Write a Will Week’ campaign and the topic continues to be as important as it was three years ago. Many people are simply unaware of the control that having a will gives you and its importance in ensuring your loved ones receive what you intend for them.

“Seeking professional legal and financial advice from a solicitor and an IFA means you can organise your affairs so that your family or friends receive the inheritance you wish them to.  You can carry out a free and independent search at to find a local IFA and solicitor.”


* Opinium Research carried out an online poll of 2017 British adults from 7th – 10th October 2011.  UK Adult population 2011 is estimated at 49,529,000 (UK 18+ population estimate according to ONS 2008 based population projection statistics for 2011). 1203 of 2017 did not have a will. 1203/2017 = .59643

.59643*49,529,000  = 29,540,581 or approximately 29.5 million

** Source:

Karen Barrett, Chief Executive, 020 7833 3131

Lisa Grando/ Emily Falla/Maddy Morgan Williams , Lansons Communications: 020 7294 3682

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Category: Write a will week Tagged: Inheritance Tax, Wills

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