Six in ten parents with children under 18 in Wales have not made a will according to new research.
The study, carried out by Will Aid, the charity will-writing campaign which this year celebrates its thirtieth anniversary, found that 60% of mums and dads have not prepared this vital piece of paperwork – that’s a rise of 15% on the same time a year ago.
Will Aid’s campaign director Peter de Vena Franks says the figures are concerning:
“With the numbers of people without a will showing a rise this year, it’s all the more important to hammer home the importance of preparing one.
“Writing a will is a chance for parents to leave clear instructions about who they would like to care for the children in the event of their death.
“If both parents die without appointing a guardian, the courts may ultimately decide who your child or children will live with.”
The most common reason for not having prepared a will is “not got round to it” (42%). But death remains a squeamish topic for almost one in four of us, 23%, who don’t want to think about their passing. One in five (20%) said they had no wealth or possessions to leave.
Of those with no will, reaching a milestone age would convince one in five (20%) that it was time to prepare one, whilst just under one in ten (9%) said having their first child would be the trigger.
Will Aid is a charity partnership where local solicitors donate their will writing time for free during November with their fees going to the Will Aid charities instead of to them.
Last year Will Aid raised more than £1.1 million for its charities – ActionAid, Age UK, British Red Cross, Christian Aid, NSPCC, Save the Children, Sightsavers, SCIAF (Scotland) and Trocaire (Northern Ireland).
The suggested voluntary donation for a basic Will Aid will is £95 for a single will and £150 for a pair of mirror wills i.e. where a couple prepare almost identical wills, typically leaving their estates to each other.
Financial assets and property are the things will makers are most keen to pass on to those they love. Three-quarters of those who took part in the Will Aid research (76%) mentioned property and just over seven in ten (72%) cited savings and investments. Items of sentimental value were of most concern to 46%, valuables such as jewellery or antiques 36% and digital assets 15%.
Stunningly, more than half of those questioned (55%) wouldn’t know where to find the will of their nearest relative should the worst happen.
“If you die intestate – i.e. having left no will – it can cause additional stress for your loved ones at an already stressful time. It can also cause arguments and disagreements in families,” adds Peter.
“2018 marks 30 years since the start of Will Aid and our research shows that there is still a need to encourage more people to make their will,” says Peter.
You can find your nearest Will Aid solicitor at willaid.org.uk or by calling 0300 0309 558.