13 July 2016
Only 2 in every 100 Brits can accurately describe what a will is for and why they need one
- A third of Brits know what song they want played at their funeral but only 40% have a will
- Almost seven million Brits have promised something to a loved one after they die but have not covered it in a will
- A quarter of Brits brand celebrities who die without their affairs in order as ‘ridiculous’ but two thirds don’t have a will themselves
A staggering 98% of Britons can’t accurately describe what a will is for, according to new research by Macmillan Cancer Support. Furthermore an estimated seven million Brits have promised something to a loved one after they die but not covered it in a will.
The survey of 2,000 adults shows that while people say they like to plan ahead (68%) and say they are comfortable talking about their dying wishes (49%), they are actually putting off important tasks like will writing, with over 60% of the adult population not having a will.
With 60% of Brits admitting to not having a will, the top reasons given were having ‘just never got round to it’ (41%), the belief that they don’t have anything valuable to leave (26%) and that they don’t think they need to write one until they’re older (21%).
Macmillan Cancer Support is encouraging the nation to discuss their end of life wishes with loved ones, and move writing a will to the top of their to-do list to avoid heaping financial stress on to their loved ones after they’ve gone.
The survey also found that:
- 89% of 18-34 year olds do not have a will compared to 32% of over 55’s
- Brits believe 40 years old is the average age when people should make a will but over a third of Brits don’t know how much a will costs
- Nearly a third of people said they would consider leaving a gift in their will to charity
- Two thirds didn’t know that leaving a gift to charity may reduce inheritance tax their family has to pay
- 49% of Brits claim that they’re comfortable talking about their own death but only 38% have discussed their own funeral arrangements
- Dying with no regrets was named as the most important thing in ensuring a ‘good death’
- Nearly a quarter or Brits say that a celebrity’s death makes them think about their own mortality with the deaths of high profile celebrities, including David Bowie and Victoria Wood, making people think about their own death
Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, says: “Not having a will can heap financial stress onto the grief. If you have assets, it’s important to decide what you want to happen to them. If you don’t, your money and assets could be locked away with your loved ones unable to access them – causing all types of problems. Making a will doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does need to get done. Some unpleasant chats are the most important ones.”
Domino MacNaughton, Legacy Manager at Macmillan, says: “We want to encourage people to look to the future in a positive way and help educate them about a topic that is often misunderstood. With estimates showing that by 2020 one in two people will get cancer in their lifetime, leaving a legacy to a charity in your will could help Macmillan ensure no one faces cancer alone.”
Gifts in wills currently make up nearly a third of Macmillan’s annual fundraising income, and help ensure that people can continue to receive emotional, practical and financial support when they need it the most. For more information go to www.macmillan.org.uk/legacies
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For more information contact:
Senior Media & PR Officer, Macmillan Cancer Support
Notes to Editors:
Onepoll survey of 2000 people conducted between 26th May – 31st May and commissioned by Macmillan Cancer Support.
About Macmillan Cancer Support
When you have cancer, you don’t just worry about what will happen to your body, you worry about what will happen to your life. Whether it’s concerns about who you can talk to, planning for the extra costs or what to do about work, at Macmillan we understand how a cancer diagnosis can take over everything.
That’s why we’re here. We provide support that helps people take back control of their lives. But right now, we can’t reach everyone who needs us. We need your help to make sure that people affected by cancer get the support they need to face the toughest fight of their life. No one should face cancer alone, and with your support no one will.
To get involved, call 0300 1000 200 today. And please remember, we’re here for you too. If you’d like support, information or just to chat, call us free on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday to Friday, 9am–8pm) or visit macmillan.org.uk.
Advance care planning
Planning ahead is important for anyone regardless of whether they have an illness or not. This will be important in case you ever become unable to make choices yourself, for example if you were to become unconscious or lose capacity. Macmillan has a range of resources and trained counsellors who can offer advice. For more information about advance care planning, which includes information on making a will and funeral arrangements, visit www.macmillan.org.uk