UK People Prepared For Inevitability Of Death, Poll Reveals

People in the United Kingdom are more prepared than ever for death, according to a new survey.

The poll, which asked those over the age of 18 whether they have made a will, showed an increase in those who have already got their affairs in order to 50% – up from just 47% in 2018.

The survey was carried out by Will Aid, the charity will-writing campaign that takes place every November and encourages people to prepare their will and donate their solicitor fee to charity.

Several high-profile celebrities have died suddenly without a will recently, including musicians Avicii, Prince and Amy Winehouse, raising awareness of the complications that can be left behind for grieving family and friends.

Graham Norton, a Will Aid patron, said he has come face-to-face with death on two occasions.

“On the first, my own life was threatened after I was stabbed during a mugging in Queen’s Park and lost nearly half my blood.

“The second involved the loss of my father Billy who died shortly after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

“Both made me realise that life is too short. And both made me accept that death is very, very final. There are no comebacks, revivals or retaliations.

“A will is therefore a vital document that allows you to pass on your final wishes to the people you love most.”

Fellow Will Aid patron Dame Judi Dench said:

“Death is always devastating but it is also inevitable.

“Making a will is a way to confront this certainty in the knowledge that, by completing the paperwork, you will be making the experience less traumatic for your loved ones.”

The survey results have prompted those behind Will Aid to urge people to get their affairs in order sooner rather than later and make what is an already devastating time for relatives, that little bit easier.

Jon Jacques, Chairman of Will Aid, said:

“When we think of the considerable assets celebrities have, we assume that because of the large sums of money involved, they would have their affairs in order, but this isn’t always the case.

“There is a misconception that if you die intestate, your relatives decide how the assets are split. But when a person dies without leaving a valid will, the estate must be shared out according to the rules of intestacy. Only married or civil partners and some other close relatives can inherit under these rules. Failing to make a will can mean that your wealth could go to people you did not intend it to and leave your family and loved ones without the provisions that you wanted.”

Some regions are performing even better than the UK average, including in East Anglia, where 58% people have prepared this vital documentation.

However, some regions are alarmingly poor at being prepared, including in Northern Ireland, where 63% of people surveyed admitted they do not have a will. In England, the North West fared the worst, with 58% of people admitted that they aren’t prepared.

Mr Jacques continued:

“Events such as becoming a parent, grandparent, losing a partner, getting divorced or separated, inheriting assets and getting married are all life events that we should update our wills to reflect.

“Buying a house, large investments, the acquisition of additional properties or businesses and retirement plans should all be kept current in terms of the contents of your will.

“Failure to update changes in your circumstances can leave the loved ones you leave behind financially unprotected.”

Will Aid Month in November encourages people to get a professionally written will with the help of a solicitor.

Law firms volunteer their time and expertise to write basic wills, waiving their fee, with clients being invited to make a voluntary donation to Will Aid instead. Donations support the vital work of the nine partner charities.

The suggested voluntary donation for your basic Will Aid will is £100 for a single will and £180 for a pair of mirror wills.

Those who wish to make a will can book their November appointments from September onwards via our website or by calling us on 0300 0309 558.

Last year Will Aid raised more than £1million for its charity partners – ActionAid, Age UK, British Red Cross, Christian Aid, NSPCC, Save the Children, Sightsavers, SCIAF (Scotland) and Trocaire (Northern Ireland).

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