22 May 2015
• New research from Macmillan Cancer Support finds that over a million Brits have had a serious family argument after a relative has died without a will
• Nearly one in five (17%) of these feuds has led to a family break up, with relatives no longer talking to one another
• 93% of Brits describe themselves as organised but 59% don’t have a will
• Macmillan is encouraging people to talk more openly about their wishes this Dying Matters Awareness Week (18 -24 May) and consider leaving a gift to Macmillan
An estimated 1 million Brits have had a serious family argument after a loved-one has passed away with no will in place, according to new research by Macmillan Cancer Support. Of those that said that they’d had a family feud over a will, nearly a fifth said that it had gone on to break up the family.
Furthermore a third of people who said that they have promised something to a loved one have not actually covered this in a will – which means that a further 5 million people are potentially risking family arguments in the future.
The survey of 2,000 adults coincides with Dying Matters Awareness Week (18 -24 May) and shows that whilst people would describe themselves as organised (93%) and say they are comfortable talking about their dying wishes (44%), they are actually putting off important tasks like will writing and talking about their own end of life plans, leaving many families in turmoil following the death of a loved one.
With 59% of Brits admitting to not having a will, the top reasons given were having ‘just never got round to it’ (34%), the belief that they don’t have anything valuable to leave (31%) and that they don’t think they need to write one until they’re older (20%).
Martin Lewis, founder and editor 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. “
Macmillan Cancer Support is encouraging the nation to use Dying Matters Awareness Week as a prompt to finally start discussing their end of life wishes with loved ones, and move writing a will to the top of their to-do list.
Dani Adams, Legacy Manager at Macmillan, says: ‘We want to encourage people to look to the future in a positive way. Whilst people do not have to leave a gift to Macmillan to use our discounted will writing service, we hope that people will consider leaving a legacy, as another way to help us ensure no one faces cancer alone. With estimates showing that by 2020 one in two people will get cancer in their lifetime, it’s about making sure that there will be support for their loved ones in the future, should they ever face cancer.’
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
For more information contact:
Senior Media & PR Officer , Macmillan Cancer Support
Notes to Editors:
 Onepoll survey of 2000 people conducted on 7th April – 14th April and commissioned by Macmillan Cancer Support. 11% of the sample reported one or more serious arguments within their family regarding the will/legacy of a relative, of which 18% claimed that the argument was caused by a relative dying without a will which equates to to 1.2 million of the UK population based on a total UK population of 64.1million.
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.
About Dying Matters
The Dying Matters Coalition (www.dyingmatters.org) aims to raise awareness about the importance of talking more openly about dying, death and bereavement and of making your wishes known in England and Wales. It is led by the National Council for Palliative Care, and has over 30,000 members including charities, care homes, hospices, GPs, funeral directors and legal and financial organisations.