- One in three families and friends find it difficult to trace all the assets left in wills and up to £175 million goes missing each year
- Just 49% of people have wills and only 36% have updated them in the past two years
- Unique new online service willsandassets.co.uk lists all assets securely in one place and can be updated easily
- Service is free to register a will’s location and costs £12 a year to register assets with five per cent of its revenues going to charity
More than 175,000 people a year struggle to track down all the assets left by loved ones in wills, research (Online survey conducted by Consumer Intelligence of 1,978 adults aged 18+ between September 9th and 11th 2014) from willsandassets.co.uk, a unique new secure online service enabling people to store wills and register assets, shows.
Its nationwide study found 31% of those who have lost loved ones in the past 10 years have struggled to find all their financial assets – equivalent to around 175,000 people a year in the UK.
The value of assets which may have gone missing are not trivial – on average those who fear they missed assets believe they could have lost £9,700 which equates to around £175 million left unclaimed. That is just the average – 12% of those who believe money went missing think it could be £20,000 or more.
Tracking down the assets can be expensive – willsandassets.co.uk research found 39% of those who have lost loved ones in the past 10 years have spent an average £2,250 on solicitors and other advisers after a death.
Part of the problem is people failing to draw up wills – research shows just 49% have wills – rising to 79% among those aged 65-plus. But only 36% of those who have wills have updated them within the last two years and that only rises to 37% for those aged 65-plus.
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Willsandassets.co.uk is helping address the issue with the launch of a unique online national registry providing a single secure place for people to store wills, final instructions and details of their assets to make it easier for loved ones after a death.
The service is free for registering wills and charges £12 a year for those who wish to store details of assets and to update them regularly. Willsandassets.co.uk donates 5% of its revenues to charity.
Stephen Foden of Willsandassets.co.uk said: “No one wants to think about what will happen when they die but failing to do so can leave loved ones with significant problems and stress at an already very tough time.
“With more than 175,000 people a year struggling to sort out loved ones’ finances there is clearly a need for better planning and our service provides a single secure place to store wills and to detail what financial assets there are and how they can be found”
Across the country people in the North East are the least likely to have wills – just 36% – while those in the South East are the most likely with 55% having wills. However people in Wales with wills are most likely to have updated them in the past two years.
REGION PERCENTAGE WITH A WILL PERCENTAGE WHO HAVE UPDATED IN THE LAST TWO YEARS
East Midlands 46% 43%
South West 50% 32%
Scotland 48% 24%
South East 55% 35%
West Midlands 52% 31%
Yorkshire & Humberside 43% 34%
North West 47% 46%
Wales 41% 47%
London 43% 46%
North East 36% 28%
Eastern 50% 39%