Our two part research series generates new and insightful findings about the Will writing industry in the UK.
The Will writing industry has undergone a number of changes in recent years. There has been an influx of providers into the market place in the last decade, all of whom have begun to challenge the dominance of the traditional solution for the public – high street solicitors. The industry has also been impacted by the changes in family structures.
Both parts of research were commissioned by Kings Court Trust and was conducted by Nina Mguni-Jones. The findings of the research papers draw on a survey conducted on our behalf by YouGov, which collected results from over 2,000 adults in Great Britain.
There are a number of ‘life events’ that are likely to contribute to people writing a Will. Increasing age is the most obvious factor, and certain life events such as marriage, the birth of a child, or the death of a spouse will also play a part in the decision making process.
Within the next year, the law on Wills is likely to undergo some radical changes. With a view to update the law to take account of societal and technological advances. The reforms may also consider changing the rule that marriage revokes a previous Will.
Our report suggests that the changes in family structures may provide a greater imperative for adults to consider writing a Will. And while there has been an increase of adults with Wills, the pace of change in the way adults live their lives, means that the industry has to be increasingly responsive to some issues.
Being more aware of the following 3 factors could help the Will writing industry.
The reported lack of information or misinformation results in adults not being aware, or not thinking of taking the steps to write a Will. Raising awareness through public campaigns with direct and pertinent messages, could help address this issue.
Whilst addressing the need for some main messages to have greater prominence in the public domain, the research also noted that legislative changes may help the law catch up with the changes in some family structures. It could also reduce some of the discrepancies between married and unmarried couples.
The regulation of the industry is a recurring topic of conversation for professionals in the industry. The research has shown adults place some importance on using Will writing professionals that come from a regulated industry. However, the view is that a regulated industry may not reduce poor practice, despite potentially driving some smaller sole traders out of the profession.
The increasing number of adults with a Will is an encouraging sign. This direction of travel may reflect the advantage of property ownership and other assets which place a greater imperative to protect the transfer of assets from one generation to the next.
The need for a more sophisticated approach to Will writing to reflect the complexity of family structures, within the existing legal framework, is important.