Unbiased.co.uk, the professional advice website, today announced the launch of its annual 'Write a Will Week' - beginning on Monday 24 October.
Their research reveals there are now over 29.5 million adults (60 percent) without a will in place. Yet, one in five Brits expect to leave over £10,000 in savings when they pass away.
More than eight in every ten 18 - 34 year olds do not have a will in place, falling to two thirds of those aged between 35 - 54. Most worryingly, over a third of those over 55 are still without a will in place.
Despite the fact that under current rules a spouse or civil partner may only inherit £250,000 if there is no will in place and there are children or grandchildren, 48 percent of married adults do not currently have a will.
Meanwhile over two thirds of those who live together but who aren't married have savings to leave to family and friends and 54 percent of unmarried UK adults living with a partner intend to leave a property to a loved one, yet their partner will get nothing at all if there is no will in place.
Under the rules of intestacy, when a person dies without leaving a valid will, their property (the estate) must be shared out according to certain rules. Only married or civil partners and some other close relatives can inherit under the rules of intestacy.
The research from Unbiased reveals that apathy remains the number one reason for not writing a will, with a quarter of those without one stating they plan to make one when they get older, and 11 percent saying it never occurred to them. Almost one fifth don't think they have anything of value to leave behind and optimistically one in ten without a will believe their estate will go to the right people automatically.
Although the average cost of seeking legal advice to write a will can be as low as £120 for singles and £200 for couples**, over one in ten (11%) have not done so because they are worried about the cost involved. In addition 5% of those who don't have a will, state the complicated process as the reason for not having made one.
Karen Barrett, Chief Executive of unbiased.co.uk says, "Thinking about the possibility of something bad happening to you is never an easy topic but nonetheless, it is hugely important. Our research clearly shows that the nation is gripped by 'wills apathy', whether that is putting it off until they are older or incorrectly believing their estate will automatically go to the right people.
"Many people are simply unaware of the control that having a will gives you and its importance in ensuring your loved ones receive what you intend for them.
"Seeking professional legal and financial advice from a solicitor and an IFA means you can organise your affairs so that your family or friends receive the inheritance you wish them to."