The Year in Wills Report

The Year in Wills Report 2021: The year funerals got personal

As the pandemic made its way into 2021, we saw how another year of uncertainty had an impact on the thousands of wills written with us. We’ve put together our annual report, which looks at some of the biggest trends in will writing we’ve seen this year.

Download the full report here

Mondays are the most popular time to write our wills

Throughout 2021 we embraced technology and wrote our wills online and over the phone. Forget the post-lunch scroll through Instagram, 2021 saw most of us writing our wills on Monday afternoons, with the most popular time being 2pm.

Our data showed that almost a fifth of all will writing has happened on a Monday over the last three years. Nothing says ‘productive Monday afternoon’ like planning for your death, right?

Today (Monday 31st) is predicted to be the busiest day of the year; three times as many wills will be written than in previous weeks. If you’re trying to fit in some last minute January admin and your will is the last thing on your to-do list, we salute you.

Prince Philip’s admission to hospital last year saw an 148% increase in will writing

The events of the world around us, and the course of the pandemic had a huge impact on when we decided to write our wills. This year saw 18 February as the biggest day for writing a will, two days after Prince Phillip was admitted to hospital.

The ‘Royal Effect’ continued, with the next biggest spike seen on 28 October, the day after the announcement that the Queen would not be travelling to COP26. These moments had a particular effect on Gen Xers who wrote the most wills after each royal announcement.

We saw dips in wills being written on the days that the Queen and the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall received jabs, we think this could be that it gave us some much-needed hope in the fight against the pandemic.

The data also showed other famous faces making an impact. Sir Captain Tom Moore’s admittance to hospital saw a 39% spike in will writing, while the tragic passing of Girls Aloud star, Sarah Harding, at age 39 had a big effect on millennials. We saw a 33% increase in end-of-life planning the following day.  

We saw some interesting changes in funeral trends too

The research showed how a third of people linked writing their will after a death, down to rarely considering their own mortality, unless prompted by the death of others. People said that seeing someone the same age (34%) or younger (36%) was particularly impactful. 

We also saw that attitudes to funerals are changing; two years ago 28% of people writing their will said they’d prefer a Direct Cremation, jumping to just under half (49%) of recent will writers - a 75% increase.

As our CEO said “Our data highlights a big shake up in status quo, with customers no longer feeling confined to the costly, traditional constraints of high street funeral directors.  We now have the freedom to choose how we want our lives to be celebrated in a way that feels more personal and meaningful.”

The pandemic continued to play its part

The Prime Minister’s TV warning of an Omicron wave on the 12th December seeing a 71% increase in will writing with Farewill the next day, rising to a 150% spike amongst boomers. 

A survey we ran also showed a quarter of people as saying that the pandemic made them more aware of their own mortality and that spikes in cases made them more concerned that they were not prepared for death.

And of course we didn’t forget about our furry friends

Our data showed that we used our wills to plan for our pets, with 37% of will writers including instructions for taking care of their pets alongside their children. A pet wasn’t just for lockdown after all 😍. 

….Or the die-hard football fans among us

When it came to legacy gifting, gifts of money were the most common in 2021.. However, we saw lots more personal pieces passed on too. We saw record collections (12%), football shirts (11%), sports memorabilia (10%) and even trainer collections (7%).

The most mentioned clubs in our wills were Liverpool, followed by Tottenham Hotspur. Call us biased, but we’ve got to think Jurgen Klopp has something to do with that.

Download the full report here