Just 39% of people who have drawn up a will ‘plan to split assets equally’

Fewer than half of people who have drawn up a will plan to share out their assets equally between beneficiaries such as family members and friends, a survey has found.

Only two-fifths (39%) of those who have drafted a will plan to split their assets equally between beneficiaries, Direct Line Life Insurance found.

Settling old scores after death and evening up differences in wealth between loved ones could be behind people’s decisions to divide their assets into amounts of varying sizes.

Looking at why some people stand to receive more than others, the way they have behaved, how well-liked they are and how wealthy they already are may have an influence on how much they will get from a will, the research found.

Some people also plan to repay financial support that they were given back to people in their will, the survey of more than 2,000 people found.

Across the UK, people in Belfast who had drawn up a will were particularly likely to have split assets evenly, with 55% saying they had done so, compared with 30% of those in Brighton and Edinburgh, 31% in Sheffield, 32% in Newcastle and 34% in Cardiff, the survey found.

People in London were in line with the UK average, with 38% of people who had drafted a will there saying they had split assets equally.

The research also suggests that people’s current spouses or partners are the most likely people to benefit in a will, followed by first-born children, with younger siblings being less likely than older ones to benefit – perhaps because some people have not got around to amending their will to reflect their expanding family.

Older generations were more likely to say they wanted their assets to be shared out equally after they had died, with 49% of over-55s planning to split their estate evenly compared with a quarter (25%) of adults aged 34 and under planning to give beneficiaries an equal share of their estate.

More than half (56%) of those surveyed have not got around to writing a will – potentially meaning their assets may not end up where they would have wanted them to go. This included a third (34%) of over-55s surveyed who said they have no will in place.

Jane Morgan, business manager at Direct Line Life Insurance, said: “Death is never an easy topic to discuss, but should the worst happen it is a conversation you are likely to have wished you’d had.

“Leaving a valid will is crucial, as intestacy rules do not take into account the various family dynamics people face in the UK and can be made more complicated by multiple marriages, divorces, children and step-children.”

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