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16 To 24 Year Olds More Likely To Include Dogs In Their Will


Dog owners are increasingly considering provisions for their pets as they write and update their wills following the global Covid 19 pandemic. Financial services firm Legal & General commissioned a survey to uncover the UK’s attitudes towards and reasons for writing a will, and how this has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • More people don’t have a will (53%) than those who do (47%)
  • More than a fifth (22%) of respondents aged 16-24 strongly agreed that their perspective had changed on will writing since the pandemic
  • The most important reason for writing a will is to leave assets to the right beneficiaries, cited by 47% of respondents
  • 15% of respondents aged 16-24 have left their assets to their pets
  • 40% of respondents without a will in place said they simply ‘hadn’t got round to it’

Back in March 2020, the search term ‘will writing’ peaked at 11,000 searches per month, showing evidence of a will writing boom as people in the UK looked to secure their future during unprecedented times. Since then, new data from Legal & General reveals that in October 2021, less than half (47%) of people in the UK have a will, compared to 53% who don’t.

The research found that the pandemic has impacted different generations in contrasting ways when it comes to will writing. More than a fifth (22%) of respondents aged 16-24 strongly agreed that their perspective had changed on will writing since the pandemic, the highest of any age group. However, 30% of people aged 55+ strongly disagreed with this statement.

As a result of this perspective shift, over half (52%) of respondents aged 16-24 claim to have updated their will within the last year. This is higher than the average, as almost a quarter (24%) of all respondents had updated their will within the last year, while for over 55s this was only 14%.

Among those who have updated their will, 18% of 16-24 year olds said they did so after falling ill from COVID-19, compared to only 1% of respondents aged 55+ choosing this option. But what other motivations do Brits have for writing a will? L&G found that the most popular reasons were:

To make sure my assets are being left to the right beneficiaries 47%
To ensure that my family are provided for financially 43%
To determine who will manage and handle my affairs 32%
To determine who would look after my children 18%
To avoid paying more inheritance tax than required 13%

With family considerations being cited as a top reason for taking out a will, it’s no surprise that most people choose to leave their assets to their children (60%), spouse (38%), and siblings (15%).

However, the survey revealed that some Brits plan on leaving their assets to their pets! 15% of respondents aged 16-24 have used their will to leave assets to their furry friends, the highest of any age group. Respondents in the North East of England also admitted to this, with 14% choosing their pet as a beneficiary.

While some Brits are prioritising their pets, others are using their will to give back, as 10% of respondents said they have chosen to leave assets to charity. Charitable giving was most popular among residents in the South East compared to any other region, with 14% leaving assets to charity.

Despite the indication of a will writing boom early on in the pandemic, data suggests that the uptake is not universal. Two thirds (66%) of people in the UK know the value of their assets, yet a majority have not yet written a will (53%).

There is evidence of a gender divide as only 41% of women have a will, compared to 53% of men. There is also a regional difference: 64% of people in Northern Ireland do not have a will in place (the highest of any region), compared to 45% of Londoners.

For those who have not taken out a will, the most popular reason for this was ‘I haven’t got round to it’ was the most popular answer given, cited by 40%. This was followed by ‘I have no assets to pass on’ (21%), and ‘I’m too young (14%)’.

6% of respondents claimed they had not yet taken out a will because it’s too much effort. This could be due to a lack of knowledge and understanding of how to make a will. L&G’s data revealed a further generational divide in knowing the rules of intestacy. Those aged 16-24 were most confident about this: 24% said they were ‘very confident’, compared to only 14% of 45-54 year olds.

Although 17% of people without a will admitted that nothing would make them more likely to write one, the majority (64%) said they do plan to write a will in the future. 35% of respondents without a will said that they would be more likely to write a will if they came into money or fell ill, and 31% cited advancing age as a motivator to write a will in the future.

Learn More About Including Dogs In Your Will ⇢

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