Where there’s no will there’s no way: 8.1 million UK adults over 50 have no will and testament in place

Friday, 31 October 2014
  • UK Government made over £40 million in unclaimed estates in 20131
  • Will Aid’ Month launches on 1st November 2014
  • Over 50s in the North East currently take the biggest risk with almost half of our respondents (48%) having no will in place


New research2 from specialist insurance provider RIAS has revealed that there are currently 8.1 million3 over 50s in the UK (35%) who have no will in place. The findings come as Will Aid Month kicks off on the 1st November. 


This research reveals a large number of over 50s could be taking a big risk and could be leaving their friends and family vulnerable to higher tax or even losing out on an inheritance altogether without having a will in place.  There is also confusion about what happens to people’s estates if they die ‘intestate’. Over half of the over 50s surveyed (52%) believe that their estates would go to their husband or wife, which is true in most cases, whilst 27% believe everything would go to their next of kin.  However, if there is no will in place, the law sets out who should deal with the deceased's affairs and who should inherit their estate.


Those over 50 in the North East of England appear to be the most care free with nearly half of respondents (48%) not yet having a will in place. It is the over 50s in the East Midlands who are the most prepared with an organised three quarters (75%) having a will sorted.

Being without a will can also mean higher taxes and parts of the inheritance being lost to the Government through the ‘bona vacantia’ law. Last year alone the Government made £40.2 million from estates where no will was in place, a 300 per cent increase on the previous year’s total of £13.2 million.


Peter Corfield, Managing Director at RIAS said: “It’s clear from these findings that making a will is still a bit of a stumbling block for a lot of people over the age of 50. People with busy lives might say they don’t have the time, whilst some people may not want to face the prospect of writing one up as they could see it as a real sign of getting older. This doesn’t take away from the fact that getting a will is essential to make sure that should the unexpected happen, your family and friends receive the best support. If people don’t have a will in place then your money, property and possessions will be shared out according to the law instead of your wishes. This can mean your estate passes to someone you hadn’t intended – or that someone you want to pass things on to ends up with nothing.


“November is Will Aid month which means it’s a good time to really think about speaking to a solicitor. RIAS customers have access to legal services via our Legal Expenses product which enables them to make a will from just £49.99.”


1Accounts for the Crown’s Nominee for the year ended 31 March 2014

2 Research conducted by Opinium Research on behalf of RIAS in October 2014 from a nationally representative sample of 2,004 UK adults aged 18+, 917 of which were aged 50 and over (46%).

3 Based on 46% of 50,371,000 (ONS UK adult population aged 18+) which is 23,049,005. 35% of over 50 year olds surveyed do not have wills, which equates to 8,118,679 (8.1 million).

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