More than six million adults refuse to discuss their will with loved ones

4 min read

Meera Khanna, Consumer PR Manager
Meera Khanna

Corporate PR Manager - Protection


• Almost 6.5 million adults refuse to discuss their will with loved ones
• Not wanting to think about dying (26%) and avoiding upsetting beneficiaries (27%) were the main reasons for adults not discussing their will
• Nearly half (45%) of parents with adult children said the contents of their will is ‘no one’s business’ but their own or their partners

Ahead of Free Wills Month in March, research from Royal London reveals a quarter (26%) of people with a will do not discuss it as they do not want to think about dying. The research also found that one in four (27%) do not want to upset beneficiaries by discussing the contents of their will.

Talking about death can often be uncomfortable and difficult. By overcoming ‘death anxiety’, the natural fear of talking about death and the emotions associated with it, these important conversations can ensure your beneficiaries are aware of your wishes and understand them.

Royal London’s research found that nearly half (45%) of UK parents with adult children believe their will to be ‘no one’s business’ but their own or a partners. Sharing the contents of a will makes the financial and practical consequences of death easier for those left behind. Losing someone can have a huge impact on finances for months or even years to come, so it is crucial for families to be prepared.

Mona Patel, Royal London’s consumer spokesperson, said:

“Talking about dying can be seen as ‘taboo’ and it is not always easy to bring it up. Discussing your will with beneficiaries means they are better prepared when the time comes. It is also hugely important for family members to be aware of vital decisions in your will, such as who will look after your children.”

Royal London has five top tips on how to approach the ‘When I’m gone’ conversation with your partner or family:

• Avoid talking to someone when they’re busy. Look for opportunities to broach the subject such as when you’re discussing the future or perhaps following the death of someone close to you.
• Consider beginning the conversation with a question such as, “Have you ever wondered what would happen…?”; “Do you think we should talk about…?”.
• Think about how you would manage financially should the worst happen. What impact would losing a partner or family member have on your household income and your expenses? Be aware that your financial situation may change in the future.
• Make sure you know where all important documents such as wills, bank details, insurance policies etc are kept, so that you have all the information you might need.
• Prepare in advance; would you know how to manage the day-to-day finances? If not, consider how you could start to learn about them now so this doesn’t come as a shock.
For more information on death and important money matters, Royal London has created a ‘When I’m gone’ booklet for an easy place to write everything down. This can be downloaded from the Royal London website.

Notes to Editors

1. Royal London has help and information on death and money matters which can be found on our website
2. Six million figure is based on ONS adult population stats of 52.8million. Our research shows 47% of UK adults have a will – 26% of this figure equates to 6,458,535.05.
3. Opinium on behalf of Royal London surveyed 2,006 adults between 26th and 29th October 2018. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

About Royal London:

Royal London is the largest mutual life, pensions and investment company in the UK, with funds under management of £117 billion, 8.8 million policies in force and 3,745 employees. Figures quoted are as at 30 June 2018.

For further information please contact:

Meera Khanna, Corporate PR Manager - Protection