Where there is a will, there is a way - yet over half of UK adults are currently without a will

unbiased.co.uk and Certainty.co.uk announces the launch of the sixth ‘Write and Register a Will Week’

01 Sep 2014

  • 28.7 million of the UK adult population (57%) have not made a will
  • Youngest are most at risk with nearly four fifths (78%) of UK adults in their 30s and more than two thirds (68%) in their 40s having no will in place
  • Of those without a will, more than a tenth (11%) believe their estate will automatically go to the right people

unbiased.co.uk, the ‘find an adviser’ search, and Certainty.co.uk, the national will register, today announce the launch of their joint ‘Write and Register a Will Week’, beginning Monday 1 September 2014.

New research[1] reveals 28.7 million of the UK adult population (57%) haven’t made a will. When it comes to being prepared, nearly half of men (46%) have written a will compared to only 38% of women. A role reversal from last year, where more women had written a will compared to men (42% vs 39%)[2].

Critical age

Nearly four fifths (78%) of those UK adults in their 30s and more than two thirds (68%) of those in their 40s have no will in place. While these figures have fallen slightly from 2013, showing some have taken action and written a will, they are worryingly high for ages where people often have young families to look after and provide for. Without a will in place, they cannot be certain that their assets will be passed on as they wish.

For those approaching or in retirement, over half of people (54%) in their 50s and 27% of those in their 60s do not have a will. UK adults in their 70s have taken the most action with only 15% now without a will, down from a fifth (19%) last year.

*Table 1: showing the percentage of UK adults without a will in 2013 and 2014


Without a will
Without a will 
20 - 29 


30 - 39  80%


40 - 49 


50 - 59 


60 - 69 


Over 70 



Family first

When asked who they wanted to benefit from their will, those surveyed overwhelmingly said they intended for their estates to help family members. Providing financial security for relatives was a top priority for many, with over a fifth (23%) saying they wanted to leave enough so their families could live comfortably and 8% wanting to help pay off a relative’s mortgage. Children and grandchildren are also set to benefit, with 19% hoping to boost their children’s or grandchildren’s savings, 15% wishing to pass on enough funds to help their child or grandchild to put down a deposit on a house and a tenth (10%) saying they would like to help their child or grandchild attend university.

Assets expected to be left in 2014

As the UK property market continues to boom, over two thirds (68%) of UK adults expect to leave property in their wills, more than in 2013. Despite this, the expected average value of a property being left has fallen to £182,000 from £202,000 in 2013. Three quarters (75%) intend to leave money to their loved ones, with the average total sum expected to be given increasing to £51,000 this year. Over half (56%) expect to leave tangible assets to loved ones, such as paintings, jewellery and antiques, of an average value of £22,000. Women continue to expect to leave less to their families, with UK males believing they will leave nearly double in savings and tangible assets than their female counterparts will.

Excuses, excuses, excuses

Wanting to pass on assets and possessions to family is natural, but without a will in place these intended beneficiaries may receive nothing. When asked why they didn’t have a will, a quarter (24%) said they planned to write their will when they’re older and a further 18% said they couldn’t afford the cost of setting up a will. 12% said that making a will hadn’t occurred to them, while 9% said they planned to write their will once they have children.

More than a tenth (11%) believes their estate will automatically go to the right person, however with no will in place an estate will be divided according to the laws of intestacy, potentially leaving unmarried partners and stepchildren financially vulnerable for instance.

Regional differences

The South West, for the second year in a row, and Scotland were the most prepared regions in the UK with half (51%) having already written a will. At the bottom, the West Midlands (67%), North West (66%) and Wales (63%) were the regions with the highest proportion of people without a will in place.

*Table 2: showing the percentage of UK adults without a will by region


Without a will 

South West 




East of England 


South East


East Midlands 


North East 


York & Humber 


Northern Ireland 






North West


West Midlands


Karen Barrett, Chief Executive or unbiased.co.uk, comments: “What is evident from our research are people’s good intentions to ensure loved ones are taken care of when they are no longer around. However, it is worrying to see how few have a will in place, leaving no guarantee their wishes will be executed as they intended and potentially putting them and their family in a vulnerable position.

“When it comes to writing a will, procrastination rules for too many, with most believing they should make their will when they are older. Those with wills are often unaware they can register their will too, which ensures loved ones will be able find your will when you are no longer around. Joining forces with Certainty.co.uk, we are working to raise people’s awareness of the importance of writing and registering a will. It is never too soon to make a will and it will provide you with the knowledge and peace of mind that your family will be protected and secure.”

Nigel McGinnity, Co-Founder and CEO of Certainty.co.uk, continued: “Writing a will is the first important step to take, the second is to ensure it can be found when you have passed on. If it cannot be found in the future, then writing it in the first place was meaningless. Every day Certainty Will Search find wills that otherwise would have been assumed lost or worse still never written forcing distribution of the estate down an intestacy route. Certainty has approaching 5 million wills allocated to its register and registration is totally confidential. The fact that a will has been written and registered remains confidential until after death and even then only your executors or beneficiaries would be contacted. During Write and Register a Will Week you are able to register your will totally free of charge and takes a couple of minutes.”

While many name cost and complexity as a reason for not making a will, it can be done very simply with the help of a professional. The average cost of using a solicitor to draw up a will can be as low as £150 for singles and £200 for couple[3]. Although this is not an insignificant sum, the help of a professional will ensure the will is legal and valid and will also help your loved ones to deal with your estate at a difficult time.

To find a solicitor or financial adviser, simply go to www.unbiased.co.uk and enter your postcode.

For more information: Write and Register a Will Week 2014


Notes to editors:

1. unbiased.co.uk research conducted by Opinium Research between 5-8 August 2014, among 2,006 nationally representative UK adults aged 18+. 1,144 out of 2,006 UK adults say they do not have a Will (as in Last Will and Testament) in place = 57% * 50,371,000 (ONS UK adult population) = 28,726,034/28.7m
2. unbiased.co.uk research conducted by Opinium research between 6–9 September 2013, among 2,001 nationally representative UK adults aged 18+.
3. Source: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/writing-a-will-your-options

For more information contact:
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unbiased.co.uk is the UK's most comprehensive free professional adviser search website, focused on empowering users with the resources they need to make better informed financial and legal decisions. We not only help consumers and businesses find the best adviser for their needs from 24,000 IFAs, financial advisers, mortgage advisers, solicitors and accountants listed on our search, but we also help them research the market by providing relevant information and tools. At unbiased.co.uk we are transparent about what we do and provide the easiest way for consumers to find and compare advisers meeting their requirements.

The unbiased.co.uk website launched in 1998 and rapidly became the UK’s leading online destination for consumers and businesses looking to find an adviser. Now attracting over one million visitors a year, unbiased.co.uk is the default adviser directory for consumer websites recommending their audience to ‘find an adviser’.

unbiased.co.uk has launched a new industry-facing website for the adviser community at business.unbiased.co.uk.

Unbiased Ltd promotes the benefits of financial and legal advice to consumers and businesses and would like to thank the following companies for their support:

Alliance Trust 



Opinium Research 

AXA Wealth


Canada Life Ltd 

Royal London Group 

Legal & General 

Santander Asset Management 




Standard Life Assurance Limited 


Zurich Intermediary Group

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Category: Write a will week Tagged: Wills

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