Research suggests over half of UK adults have not written a will, with the proportion of those without one in older age groups risen significantly over the past four years.
A poll of 2,000 adults by adviser search website Unbiased.co.uk and Certainty.co.uk, the National Will Register, found that 58 per cent of the adult population does not have a will.
While the proportion has remained flat since 2009, the proportion without a will has climbed significantly among older age groups.
In 2009, 41 per cent of those aged 50 to 59 were without a will, which has now risen to 54 per cent. The percentage of those aged 40 to 49 who do not have a will has increased from 60 per cent in 2009 to 69 per cent in 2013.
The only age group in which the proportion of people without a will has fallen over the period is 20 to 29-year-olds, among which it has dropped from 88 per cent in 2009 to 83 per cent today.
Unbiased.co.uk chief executive Karen Barrett said the statistics are “as concerning now as they were in 2009”.
She says: “There are still a staggering amount of people without a will; in fact, this year’s data shows the number of 35-54 year olds without a will has risen from 64 per cent to 68 per cent, leaving them and their family in a vulnerable position.
“Too few people are aware of the security a will offers and too many believe it should be written when they are older.”
Unbiased.co.uk and Certainty.co.uk are together launching a ‘Write and register a will week’, beginning 14 October, with the aim of raising awareness of the importance of will writing.
The research also shows 76 per cent of adults plan to leave money to loved ones when they die, up marginally from 74 per cent in 2012 and with an average value of £46,000. The proportion of people hoping to leave property when they die has risen from 65 per cent in 2012 to 68 per cent today, with an average expected value of £202,000.
A quarter of those without a will say they are putting off writing one “until they are older”, while 13 per cent say writing a will has never crossed their mind, and 11 per cent say the cost of setting one up has put them off.