Pandemic prompts surge in will writing, study reveals

More than a quarter of UK adults (26%) have been prompted into action or consideration on their will since the first UK lockdown, new research from Canada Life has revealed.

The findings, based on a survey of 2,002 people, indicated that 44% of UK adults have now written a will, a figure up from 41% since July 2020, with a quarter of these having created their will in the last year.

Over the last year, 4.9 million UK adults have written a will, while 5.5 million have updated their will to change or update recipients of financial assets. Canada Life also suggested 4.4 million people have engaged a solicitor to write a will, while 7.8 million have started to think about a will.

According to these figures, however, this recent surge in will writing still leaves over 29.5 million people (56%) without one. Of those without a will, more than a third (34%) said the pandemic had resulted in them starting the process of writing a will or considering writing one.

“As a society, we often shy away from talking about the state of our personal and financial affairs, which can make wills and estate planning a taboo subject for many,” Canada Life tax and estate planning specialist, Neil Jones.

“But while no one likes to think about their own mortality, it’s extremely encouraging to see that the global pandemic has prompted people into action.

“Having a will in place not only provides people with financial security and peace of mind, meaning their families and loved ones will be provided for should the unexpected happen, but can also help reduce the amount of inheritance tax that might be payable on the value of the assets they leave behind.”

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