Welcome to Farewill’s Year in Will’s Report 2022. Dive in to discover the patterns we’ve seen throughout the year, what they suggest about the way the UK plans for death and how charitable legacy giving is on the rise despite the financial crisis.
Will writing trends in 2022
The percentage of wills written by Gen Z (born 1997 – 2012) doubled in 2022 year on year, and the number of Millenials writing wills increased by 6% compared to 2021. Despite this, the average age of people writing their will in 2022 was 49 (slightly older than in 2020, when the average age was 47). This might have been due to the anxiety caused at the start of the covid pandemic gradually easing away. For the second year running those living in Bristol, South East London and Birmingham postcodes were the top three areas in the will writing charts.
Wednesday mornings overtook Monday mornings by a whisker to be the most popular time of the week to write a will in 2022.
On weekdays, the most popular time for will writing lands just before lunch, between 11am and noon. On weekends we’re more leisurely – most wills are written between midday and 1pm. Weekend mornings at 4am is the quietest time of the week, although 1.5% of customers are night owls, making the most of the peace to write their will between midnight and 5am.
32% of people made plans for their pets in their will
The number of people including their pets in their will has increased by 2% since 2020, perhaps as a result of all the pets bought during lockdown. 69% of wills included children, a decline of 3% since 2020. And more of us were footloose and fancy-free with the number of wills written containing no children or pets increasing by 2% in the last two years.
Leaving your most treasured possession to family and friends in your will is a special way to remind someone you love them after you’re gone. The most popular sentimental items we pledged to pass on in 2022 were jewellery, personal possessions and music collections, closely followed by books, clothes, art and furniture.
People were generous amidst the financial crisis
Over £200 million was pledged to charities in legacy gifts in our wills in 2022.
Despite the financial crisis our charitable spirit prevailed across the UK, with the percentage of legacy gift inclusion increasing by 8.7% overall. The biggest increase in legacy pledges came in the 61-70 age group, with the percentage of customers including a gift growing by 33% year on year. This was closely followed by 51-60 year-olds, with a 7% percentage increase.
We’re proud to report that since 2016, wills written with Farewill have raised over £700m in pledged legacy gifts.
The average sum of primary gifts increased in every age bracket from 41-80, with the average pledged gift from 71-80 year olds increasing by over 16% year on year. Those over 91 were the most generous with primary gifts, with the average gift amount from that age group increasing by 285% since 2020.
During times of financial uncertainty, it can be difficult to regularly donate to causes you care about. Offering charity supporters a free will writing service in the hope that they may include a legacy gift is a win-win. It provides supporters with an easy, free service they value, while also keeping them engaged with a charity at a time when they might have little disposable income.
We worked with over 270 charity partners in 2022
Farewill offers charities a will writing service, which gives the charity’s supporters the opportunity to leave a donation to the charity in their will. In 2022, we worked with over 270 charity partners, from larger organisations like Macmillan and Save The Children, to local hospices, small cultural arts institutions and education charities.
Legacy giving reflects wider societal trends
Cancer, animal welfare and military charities ranked most highly for the largest number of gifts received per cause in 2022, with the most gifts from every age group pledged to cancer charities. Ongoing economic uncertainty also appears to have influenced where customers choose to donate in death.
As the financial crisis tightened its grip on the UK, there was a 75% increase in gifts pledged to homelessness and housing charities. Among 18-30 years olds, pledges to these charities increased by 156%.
Our charitable spirit also fought back against the unseen psychosocial impact of the pandemic. We saw a 127% increase in gifts pledged to mental health charities compared to 2020. The number of gifts pledged to these charities by 51-60 year olds was more than double any other age bracket.
When did our customers make legacy pledges?
The start of the new year (1 – 2 January 2022) saw the lowest percentage of legacy gifts to charities. This could be a reflection of customers choosing to start the year by ticking something off their to do list. Customers making wills across these 2 days were more likely to visit our website directly, rather than through a referral from one of our charity partners.
By contrast, Saturday 14 May was the most charitable day of the year, with 43% of wills written containing legacy gifts. It was also the day of the Eurovision Grand Final, which saw Sam Ryder, the UK’s entry, placed second. Good vibes!
Tips for writing your will
Start by making notes The more you think about it upfront, the easier you’ll find it to write your will. So start by asking yourself these questions:
Who do I want to inherit my money and property?
What do I want each of my loved ones to get?
Do I want to leave money to charity?
Are there any gifts I’d like to leave people?
Once you’ve figured these things out and got it all down on paper, you’ll have taken a big first step towards writing your will.
Make a list of people you trust Your will lets you name legal guardians for your children and who should look after your pets. You will also need to choose your executors (these are the people who will sort everything out when you’re gone). Before making any big decisions, it’s a good idea to write out a list of options. This could include people like:
your best friend
Do it your way
There are many ways to make a will. So shop around until you find a service and price that suits you. You could do:
write your will at your local will writing professional’s office
write your will at home with a professional
With Farewill, you’ll be able to ask questions and get guidance along the way.
For this report we’ve analysed anonymised data from thousands of the wills people wrote with us in 2022, and compared this to our data for 2020 and 2021. Legacy giving data was collated from wills written with Farewill between 1 January and 13 December 2022, all other data was collated between 1 January and 31 December 2022.
The Farewill data we’ve looked at includes: customer numbers over time, customer demographics, cash and possessions left as gifts and money pledged to charities.
The generation brackets we’ve used
Gen Z, born 1997 – 2012
Millennials, born 1981 – 1996
Gen X, born 1965 – 1980
Boomers II, born 1946 – 1964
Boomers I, 1946 – 1954
Post War, born 1928 – 1945
All data is fully anonymised when we analyse it.