ALMOST A THIRD OF THOSE WITHOUT A WILL CONSIDER MAKING ONE DUE TO CORONAVIRUS, BLM-COMMISSIONED YOUGOV RESEARCH SHOWS

ALMOST A THIRD OF THOSE WITHOUT A WILL CONSIDER MAKING ONE DUE TO CORONAVIRUS, BLM-COMMISSIONED YOUGOV RESEARCH SHOWS

Yet only 9% of GB adults have taken steps to prepare or update a will, leaving families at risk

BLM-commissioned YouGov research shows:

  • 29% of those without a will more inclined to prepare one for the first time as a result of Coronavirus
  • 14% of those with an existing will are more inclined to update it as a result of Coronavirus

April 2020 – Research from law firm BLM’s wills & estate planning practice group has found that almost a third of those who do not have a will in Great Britain have considered creating a will as a result of Coronavirus/COVID-19.

The YouGov survey, commissioned by BLM, showed that of those who did not have a will, 29 percent were more inclined to prepare one for the first time as a result of the ongoing pandemic. Fourteen percent of those who already had an existing will were more inclined to update it in response to the pandemic.

James Beresford, head of wills and estate planning at law firm BLM, believes the pandemic may be prompting those who already planned to prepare or update a will to more seriously consider it:

“This crisis – which is unlike anything any of us have encountered before – is forcing people to confront their mortality head-on. With almost a third saying that Coronavirus has made them consider writing a will more so than before, and from conversations I’ve had with new clients, it seems that the pandemic is nudging will preparation further up the ‘life admin’ list. If you were thinking of preparing or updating a will pre-Coronavirus, the crisis may have given you the time and the head-space to sort it. As the reality of lock-down and the impact of Coronavirus has settled in, many of us are now having difficult and honest conversations with family and loved ones.

“It’s possible to prepare a will under ‘lock-down’, even with social distancing measures in place. Solicitors acting in connection to execute wills are considered as key workers, so can take the necessary steps to ascertain your priorities and prepare the documentation. I’ve personally handled a safe and socially-distanced will signing and witnessing – it’s obviously very different to the normal process, but still feasible and the will is perfectly valid.”

Furthermore, the YouGov survey found for those who did not currently have a will in place, the inclination to create one varied significantly dependent on age*. Older participants were more inclined to create a will than younger demographics (41% of over 55’s, as compared to 12% and 25% of 18-24s and 25-34s respectively).

Despite the fact that cohabiting couples do not receive any benefit under the laws of intestacy (when someone dies without a will), as compared to married couples or those in civil partnerships, they were less inclined to create a will for the first time versus their married counterparts (31% versus 36%)**.

Despite 29 percent of those without a will, irrespective of age or marital status, indicating they are more inclined towards creating one, this did not directly correspond to the surveyed group’s actual behaviour. Only 9 percent of GB adults had either created a new will, updated or researched a will or will provider or taken other steps relating to their will.

This could be leaving families at risk, adds James:

“Despite the anecdotal reports circulating of an uptick in will preparation, this research suggests the pandemic isn’t having a huge impact on actual behaviour on the overall population. It’s perhaps a lack of understanding on the importance of having a valid will or the next steps to take, but it’s particularly concerning for those recently separated or cohabiting, especially as 50 percent of separated or divorced respondents and 74 percent of those living as married admitted that they didn’t have a will in place***. Without an up-to-date will, you have no say in who inherits your estate. At a time that is uncertain for many of us, having an up-to-date will can provide people with some level of control over our, and our family’s, circumstances and ultimately peace of mind.”

 

BLM has introduced a free 30 minute personal risk conversation to discuss wills and estate planning with those who request it.

 

Survey sample:

 

*Which, if any, of the following statements best describes your attitude towards preparing a will for the first time, as a result of Coronavirus?

Base: All GB adults who currently don't have a will

 

 

18-24

25-34

35-44

45-54

55+

More inclined to prepare a will

12%

25%

32%

30%

41%

Less inclined to prepare a will

-

1%

1%

1%

0%

Attitude hasn’t changed

75%

64%

54%

57%

48%

Don’t know

10%

7%

10%

8%

5%

Prefer not to say

4%

4%

3%

4%

5%

 

**Which, if any, of the following statements best describes your attitude towards preparing a will for the first time, as a result of Coronavirus?

Base: All GB adults who currently don't have a will

 

 

Married / Civil Partnership

Living as married

Separated / divorced

Never married

More inclined to prepare a will

36%

31%

43%

17%

Less inclined to prepare a will

1%

1%

1%

1%

Attitude hasn’t changed

53%

60%

49%

67%

Don’t know

7%

7%

4%

10%

Prefer not to say

3%

2%

4%

5%

 

***Do you currently have a will in place?

Base: All GB adults

 

 

Married / Civil Partnership

Living as married

Separated / divorced

Never married

Yes

49%

24%

47%

15%

No

50%

74%

50%

82%

Don’t know / can’t recall

1%

1%

3%

3%

 

 

Client case study of finalising will under lockdown (if possible)

Name:

Age:

Marital status / children:

Reason for creating / updating will at this time:

Feedback on the process:

 

ENDS

 

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc, commissioned by BLM. Total sample size was 2,191 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 30th April - 1st May 2020. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

 

About BLM 

  • BLM is the leading insurance and commercial risk law specialist in the UK and Ireland. With a turnover of over £100million, we advise insurers, Lloyd’s syndicates, MGAs, brokers, corporate policyholders, professional indemnifiers and other market organisations 
  • With more than 200 partners and 1700 staff, BLM is instructed on a broad spectrum of legal issues and acts for customers in key sectors such as construction and property, corporate risks, healthcare, insurance and indemnity, leisure, public sector, retail, technology, media and telecoms, transport and the London Market
  • BLM has 13 offices across the UK and Ireland in Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Londonderry, Manchester and Southampton
  • BLM presently acts for 13 of the top 15 UK insurers and four of the top five global insurers
  • BLM is a founder member, and UK representative, in Global Insurance Law Connect, an international alliance of 13 insurance law firms launched in June 2017
  • BLM has diversified with the creation of the Commercial Advisory and Private Wealth business, having brought in a team of 33 lawyers in 2017, which it is now expanding with new hires
  • The firm appointed Matthew Harrington as senior partner with effect from 1 March 2018

 

For further information, please visit: bestofboth.blmlaw.com 

 

 

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