Half of UK don't have a will as COVID-19 highlights fragility of life

Peter de Vena Franks, Campaign Director

The pandemic certainly brought into focus how fragile life is, yet almost half of UK adults don’t have a will new research has found.

In a poll commissioned by Will Aid, an annual charity will-writing campaign, 49% of respondents admitted to not having a plan in place.

Out of those surveyed, 20% of people have put off getting a will because they do not want to think about death.

Peter de Vena Franks, campaign director for Will Aid, said: “Talking about death is understandably difficult for many people. But, if there is one thing coronavirus has taught us, it’s that life is precious.

“We have learned how to protect ourselves from the virus through hand washing, social distancing and wearing face coverings. So, it is only right we learn how to protect our loved ones and our wishes by getting a professionally written will in place.

“The results of the survey are concerning, and I hope people will take the opportunity to get a plan in place during Will Aid month.”

Only a quarter of parents have named guardians for their underage children in their will, meaning a court would make decisions on their guardianship if they died. Meanwhile, the results also found 19% of adults think they are too young to have a will.

Dame Judi Dench, ambassador for Will Aid, said: “I am a firm believer in living in the moment which explains why, at age 81, I decided to have Carpe Diem tattooed on my wrist.

“Seize the day is my motto but every so often the real essence of it is brought home in the most painful way. Most recently this involved the death of my brother Peter who was my inspiration.

“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.

“It is difficult to cope with grief, let alone financial insecurity. And a will is therefore a gift you can leave for those you love.

“If you choose to make your will with a Will Aid solicitor you will also be making a loving gift to the thousands of children, families and communities around the world helped by the Will Aid charities.

“When it comes to making a will, my advice is simple: Carpe Diem.”

Will Aid takes place very November and sees participating solicitors waive the fee for writing a basic will. Instead, they ask clients to make a voluntary donation to Will Aid.

Those who wish to make an appointment for November can do so now by calling 0300 0300 013 or visiting www.willaid.org.uk.

The suggested donation for a basic will is £100 and £180 for a pair of mirror wills.

Money raised throughout the campaign is then shared between Will Aid’s nine partner charities: ActionAid, Age UK, British Red Cross, Christian Aid, NSPCC, Save the Children, Sightsavers, SCIAF (Scotland) and Trocaire (Northern Ireland).