- 2 in 3 UK residents don’t have a will – including 42% of over 55s
- 5 million people haven’t updated their will since getting married – making it void
- 1 in 5 (20%) admit to ‘will blunders’ – such as still including an ex-partner
- Almost 1 in 10 wills have not been updated with children or grandchildren
New research from Macmillan Cancer Support today reveals that nearly 2 in 3 UK residents (63%) are leaving their final wishes to chance by failing to prepare a will. Worryingly, this includes 42% of people over the age of 55.
The charity, which is offering a free will-writing service this month, also discovered that 1.5 million people (8% of those with wills) have unknowingly made their will void by getting married. Marriage automatically revokes a will made previously, leaving it invalid.
Without an up-to-date will, the law could supersede a person’s final wishes and leave treasured possessions, money, property, and even dependent children, with someone they may not have chosen.
The survey of over 2,000 adults unveiled a range of other ‘will blunders’, with 1 in 5 wills still including an ex-partner, not yet including children or grandchildren, not including a new relationship or including someone that they plan to remove. As many as 1 in 10 people with wills (10%) admitted they were planning to update them to include children and grandchildren, but had not yet got around to it.
This news comes despite official guidance recommending that people review their will every five years and after any major life changes, yet a quarter of wills have not been updated for at least five years.
Craig Fordham, Director of Legacies at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “This January, Macmillan wants to help people take charge of their will and think about the type of legacy they want to leave behind. The start of the year is the perfect time to get your affairs in order and make arrangements for your loved ones and the causes closest to you.
“It’s a sad reality to face, but one in two of us will now face a cancer diagnosis at some point in our lifetime. While it’s not essential, we hope you might consider leaving a gift to Macmillan as well as your loved ones. Every penny can make a difference and your generosity will help us continue to support the growing number of people living with cancer for years to come.”
Previous research from Macmillan found that people’s top reasons for not having a will included them having ‘just never got round to it’ (41%), as well as the belief that they don’t have anything valuable to leave (26%) and that they don’t need to write one until they’re older (21%).
Macmillan Cancer Support receives no government funding and relies entirely on the generosity of the public. In 2016, a total of £76.8 million was left to Macmillan in people’s wills – making up almost a third of the charity’s income. Every penny helps Macmillan continue to provide emotional, financial, medical and practical support to the growing number of people living with cancer across the UK.
For further information on leaving a gift in your will to Macmillan, or on the free will-writing service in January, please visit: www.macmillan.org.uk/legacies.