Young adults “more likely” to write a Will in wake of Covid pandemic, but action remains low

News Article

The nation’s attitude to estate planning has significantly changed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, a major study has revealed.

The research, published by insurer Legal & General, suggests that young adults are now more likely to write a Will.

According to the paper, more than one in five (22 per cent) people aged 16-24 “strongly agreed” that their perspective had changed on Will writing since the pandemic, while over half of respondents in this age group who had already written a Will claim to have updated their wishes within the last year. Of those who made or amended a Will, 18 per cent said they did so after falling ill from Covid-19.

Across all age groups, almost a quarter (24 per cent) of respondents had updated their Will within the last year.

The number of people searching for the term “Will writing” on the internet also increased to a record 11,000 hits per month throughout the pandemic, suggesting a growing interest in estate planning.

But the latest statistics reveal that the number of people with a Will remains alarmingly low. As of October 2021, less than half (47 per cent) of adults had written a Will, meaning one in two Brits risk dying intestate. This increases to six in 10 (59 per cent) among women.

Worryingly, 14 per cent of those who had not written a Will reasoned that they were “too young” to write one, while 40 per cent said they “hadn’t got round to it”.

Where there is no valid Will, the rules of intestacy state that only the next of kin – such as a spouse, a civil partner, or children – can inherit the deceased person’s estate, meaning a cohabiting partner, a charity, or a life-long friend would not be automatically entitled to anything.

Commenting on the study, the authors said: “There has never been a bad time to write a Will but given the tumultuous period we’ve all been living through, it appears that many of us who were thinking about writing a will have decided there is no time like the present.”

Helen Jago, a Director with Palmers Solicitors, who specialises in Wills and estate planning, said: “Making a Will is not particularly time-consuming although can be more complicated than some people may imagine which is why it is important to seek professional legal advice.

“It is particularly important for younger people, who are living together, to make a Will because the law does not provide the same protection as it does for married couples or civil partners.

“Ensuring that you have a valid and up to date Will is essential to avoid any issues further down the line and to give you peace of mind that your inheritance will be passed to your chosen beneficiaries.”

For help and advice on matters relating to Wills, inheritance and estate planning, please contact our expert team.