Wills: The results of our customer survey

Life events and changes in circumstances play an important role in customers' decisions to make a will and there’s confusion among those without a will.

We recently surveyed about 3,850 of our customers about wills. We wanted to find out what makes our customers decide to make or manage their will and why they might be putting off making a will.

Making a will may seem like a big job and the results show there’s still some confusion about its importance and what’s involved in making a will. Life events and changes in circumstances motivate our customers to make a will but there’s a key time in life where it becomes more important.

Key findings

Cake with slice cut out

Only 22%

of under 45 year olds  have a will

Small watering can

17%

of over 45 year olds made a will because it was part of their retirement plans

Purple bow tie

51%

of customers don’t have the right knowledge to make a will

Who has a will?

Bar chart showing results of question Do you have a will?
  • 36% of customers surveyed don't have a will
  • 22% of under 45 year olds have a will
  • 14% of 65-74 year old's don't have a will

Older customers are more likely to have a will, with age 45-54 a pivotal time for making a will. Customers who don’t have a will at age 65-74 might be missing out on important tax planning, while our under 45 year old customers might feel they don’t have much to leave in financial assets. They might want to consider their homes or other property and the guardianship of children.

Why did our customers make a will?

Why did our customers make a will?
  • Under 45 year olds made a will as a result of changing circumstances (49% of all responses)
  • Over 45 year olds made a will because it was part of their retirement plans (17% of all responses)

  • Aware of importance to profession
  • Charitable reasons
  • Getting older prompted me
  • Had one for many years
  • Multiple reasons
  • Corona virus
  • Was advised to make a will
  • To avoid intestacy or tax reasons
  • To ensure wishes are carried out

It’s clear, changing circumstances, self and family wellbeing are the most common reasons for making a will. Age 45 onwards sees making retirement plans as another key event in helping customers decide to make a will. Remember, your pension isn't normally legally part of your estate to be included in a will.

Have you told us your nominated beneficiaries? Have you checked them recently?

How are our customers reviewing their will?

Bar chart showing results of question How are our customers reviewing their will?
  • 44% aim to review their will when circumstances change
  • Under 45's - 61% intend to only review when circumstances change

Maintaining a will is less about a time frame. As with creating a will, changes in circumstances leads to a review of a will.

But knowing the life events that lead to a change of a will could be difficult to spot or understand. They could involve complicated and emotional topics like divorce or the break-up of families where other factors might be a priority. Thinking about a will and nominated beneficiaries every year might avoid issues later on.

Why are our customers not making a will?

Bar chart showing results of question Why are our customers not making a will?
  • 18% think wills cost too much
  • Under 45's are waiting for their circumstances to change (31%)
  • 51% don’t have the right knowledge

  • Avoiding facing thoughts of death
  • Difficulty deciding who gets what
  • Already in the process or about to start
  • Multiple reasons

Although costing too much is the main reason for not having a will – by far the biggest reason is lack of understanding about wills, what to do, where to go and how much a will costs. A solicitor may charge between £150 and £240 for a simple will. But complex wills can cost more.

There’s help on our bereavement hub and in our articles and guides section of this website.

When will our customers without a will, make a will?

Bar chart showing results of question Why are our customers not making a will?
  • 45% intend to make a will when the time is right, while 45% plan to do it either within a year or within 5 years.
  • Over 45 year olds are slightly less likely to feel they're not ready or don't feel the need, and 12% intend to make a will with a year or five years.

Again changing circumstances plays a role in customer’s decision to make a will. But coupled with a lack of understanding of wills, decisions could be put off. For those without a will, a set time frame does feature. It seems customers are setting a goal to aim for. But with the lack of understanding, the time frame could make little difference.

Age 45 upwards is a key age again, where we start to see a change in attitude towards needing a will. Find out how to make a will.