Shocking Statistics about Will Writing (and What You Should Learn from Them)

Writing your will is the only way to leave a lasting legacy and guarantee a financially secured future for your children and other loved ones. This one fact is widely known, but for varying reasons most people still don't get to write their wills before passing on.
The following shocking statistics reveal how people from different parts of the world are failing to plan for the inevitable.

  • According to a 2012 survey by the online legal service Rocket Lawyer, 71 percent of American adults under the age of 34 do not have a will. Even more surprisingly, 41 percent of baby boomers—those who should all have written theirs already—do not have one.
  • A 2013 report by Unbiased.co.uk and Certainty.co.uk revealed that 58 percent of the UK adult population have no will. Although 69 percent of under-40 UK adults have no will, an amazing 54 percent of older adults (between ages 40 and 50) have not written their will, either.
  • Unbiased.co.uk also revealed that a staggering 75 percent of those who have written a will in the UK did not review it in the past 10 years. Yet, most of the surveyed individuals have undergone significant changes in their relationships, financial worth and businesses.
  • The co-founder and CEO of Certainty.co.uk Nigel McGinnity recently revealed that 67 percent of people are unaware of the location of the original copy of their parents' wills.
  • A survey by Foresters Friendly Society found that 25 percent of adults in the UK have never thought about writing a will, and a close number (23 percent) have not written their will because they deem themselves too poor to have one.
  • The Foresters's survey further revealed that children are usually most affected by the pathetic state of will writing in the UK, as 77 percent of parents with under-5 children have not written their will.
  • Law Society revealed in a 2014 article that a whopping £8million worth of property went to the UK government in 2013. The property belonged to people who had died "intestate" (without writing a will).
  • According to Moneysmart.gov.au, about 50 percent of adults in Australia have not written their will.

All these statistics drive home the fact that most of the people who should have written their wills have not done so—and are likely to pass on without doing so.And most of those who have written theirs do not update them as due.
Why many people don't write their wills
Despite being aware of the multiple problems that can arise from neglecting to write a will, many people still do not write them due to the following reasons:

  • They—especially the young adults—have ruled out the possibility of their deaths happening anytime soon, so they think there will always be time for that later.
  • They think writing a will is for only the rich, and since they don't fall within that category there's no need for them to write one.
  • They think writing a will is an expensive and time-taking process that involves a lot of legal hassles.
  • They're afraid that writing a will would bring to mind the scary thoughts of death.
  • They think their family already knows how to go about handling their property after they pass away.
  • They just don't know how and where to start writing their will.
  • They believe their family or business situations are too complicated to be easily detailed in a will.
  • They're not comfortable revealing the details of their assets to “an outsider” (the attorney).
  • They think their circumstances will continue to change, and their will would need to be updated too frequently.
  • They find it difficult to make important decisions such as choosing an executor for the will, a guardian for their children, or a manager for their business and other assets.

While some of these reasons might come across as strong, none of them is enough excuse for anyone to not write their will. And with the right mindset, enlightenment, planning and information, you can start writing your will right now without giving room for these excuses.

Three big lessons for you…

From the statistical findings and other pieces of information revealed above, here are some very important lessons you should learn.

1. Start writing your will right now

Whether you've given it a thought before now or not, start writing your will now. It doesn't matter if you're still young; it's not certain that you'll live long after all. It doesn't matter if you think you're poor; you can still specify how you want the “little” you have to be distributed after you're gone.
So, even if you don't know where to start, pick up your pen and start somewhere! Don’t give room for excuses;each would pale into insignificance when compared with the terrible consequences of not having a will.

2. Review your will frequently

Don't abandon your will after writing it the first time. Review it at least once every year, so that you can make adjustments to reflect new changes in your family, business, and other things that matter. Keeping an outdated will can sometimes be as bad as not having one in the first place.

3. You must tell others about your will

Only few things could be more unfortunate than having a will that nobody else knows about. It's in no way different from not having a will in the first place—because the consequences are the same.
To achieve your objectives for writing a will, you must tell your loved ones about it. Let them know that you've written one. Let them know where you kept it and how they can retrieve it when the time is right.

Finally...

If you want your body, wealth, and children treated in a particular way after you’ve passed away, you have to put it in a will. That’s the only way to ensure that your wishes would be implemented to the letter when you’re no longer around to witness that. It’s also the only way to prevent disputes and grudges that might arise over your estate and children.