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Two thirds of the population don’t have a Will

Two thirds of the population don’t have a Will

New figures released by Macmillan Cancer Support show more than two thirds of the population don't have a Will.

In our article in 2016 ‘What happens when a family member dies without a Will?’, it was reported that more than two thirds of the population don’t have a Will.

It would appear that in the past 18 months, the percentage of the population without a Will has not altered. In a poll published this week by Macmillan Cancer Support, the reported number of people without a Will remains at two thirds of the population.  

Whilst the statistics do improve as we age, this is still a startling number of people without a Will.

Why don’t people make a Will?
Understandably most people don’t like discussing their own mortality. Many people assume that they don’t need a Will and that their assets will automatically pass to the person whom they would wish to benefit; but this is not always the case.

Research suggests that the main reason people have not made a Will is simply because they have not got round to it – meeting with a solicitor to discuss what happens with your estate on death is unlikely to be at the top of anyone’s to do list.

Are Wills just for old people?
We often hear reports in the media of young adults who have lost their lives, highlighting that fact that Wills are not just for the elderly.

Young people often overlook the importance of having a Will and see this as something they can deal with later in life. However, making a Will ensures you control who inherits your estate. 

Do I need a Will?
We recommend that every person aged 16 and over in Scotland ought to have a Will. This will ensure that your wishes, on how your estate is to be distributed, are met when you die.

Some people do not necessarily need a Will, however it is important that you speak with a solicitor to obtain the appropriate legal advice.

I already have a Will – do I need to update it?
You should review your Will at least every five years incase your circumstances have changed.  It may not necessarily need updated this often, but it is good to check it to ensure it still meets your wishes.

If there are any changes in your personal circumstances, for example a separation or a death of a beneficiary, then you may want to update your Will. There are other changes, like a change of address, that will not require you to update your Will and a simple note placed with your Will is sufficient. 

If you are making simple changes to your Will, for example revoking the appointment of an executor and appointing someone else in their place, then this can be done by a Codicil rather than having a new Will prepared.

What are the costs of making a Will?
The cost will vary depending on your requirements and circumstances. The cost of putting a Will in place is minimal when set against the significant costs, time and emotional distress for family and friends that is often the result when someone dies without having made a Will.

Murray Etherington is  a Partner in our Private Client team.  If you have any questions about drafting or updating a Will please contact Murray on 01334 477107, email or contact a member of our Private Client team.

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About the author

Murray Etherington
Murray Etherington

Murray Etherington


Wills, Trusts & Succession

For more information, contact Murray Etherington or any member of the Wills, Trusts & Succession team on +44 1382 346291.