We read thousands of wills in 2019. This is what we learned...
As the UK’s number one online will writing service, we helped more people write a will last year than anyone else in the UK. And that means we checked and approved more wills too. Here’s what we learned.
Over 30 million adults in the UK don’t have a will. One of the biggest reasons behind this is that people really don’t like to think about their own death. We all have an innate desire to survive and live for as long as humanly possible. So for many people, writing a will is too scary to think about because it means accepting that your life will one day end.
And yet, despite this apparent fear of death, many people are fascinated by the world of wills. Every day, another news story appears on the topic, covering everything from the woman who left $12m to her dog, to families locked in heated legal battles because their mum or dad had died before writing a will.
Maybe it's the curiosity of peering into people's lives, or maybe it's the mystery of never being able to ask why; either way, it's easy to see why the British public are so captivated by the legacies people leave behind.
As the UK's number one online will writing service, we're in the unique position of having seen more wills last year than anyone else in the country. Our experts read each will carefully as part of our approval process – and after checking tens of thousands of wills in the last 12 months, we learned a lot about what people in the UK leave in their will.
Here are the top 4 things we noticed last year:
1. People love Bohemian Rhapsody
One of the great things about our online will writing service is that it allows you to set out what kind of funeral you would like. And music is a huge part of that.
Last summer, the release of Bohemian Rhapsody saw a surge in people choosing songs by Queen for their funeral. The title song of the movie was the most popular choice, but some people also went for the more ironic Don't Stop Me Now.
Pop music, TV and cinema have a massive impact on the funeral music people choose, so we make it easy for you to update your choices in the future. Whether you want to make your loved ones laugh by choosing something unexpected, or you simply want them to enjoy your favourite songs together one last time, writing your will online is a great way to make it happen.
2. Cremations are the number one funeral choice
Over the last few decades, traditional burials have gradually fallen out of favour. Instead, people have been opting for a cremation, allowing their family to display or scatter their ashes however they see fit.
In 2019, we discovered just how far cremations have come, with 73.6% of those who left specific wishes choosing a cremation, compared to only 10.3% for a traditional burial and 7.6% for a natural burial.
On top of this, thousands of people stated that they don't want their family to spend too much on a stuffy, traditional funeral, and instead would prefer a memorial that's more personal and informal. It's messages like this that inspired us to create Farewill Cremation.
3. People have a surprisingly good sense of humour about death
Despite being apprehensive about starting their will, many people actually have a surprisingly good sense of humour about it once they get started. This really comes through in the gifts and personal messages people leave to their family and friends.
In 2019, someone left money to their best friend insisting that he uses it for the golf lessons he desperately needs. Another explicitly requested that their ashes shouldn't be tipped down the toilet under any circumstances. Many people even chose to leave beer money to their closest friends, insisting that they use it to get drunk and be merry after their funeral.
This is one of the great benefits of writing a will from the privacy of your own home. You don't have to worry about what the solicitor across the desk is going to think, you can simply focus on writing your will for the people that really matter.
4. We have the most generous customers in the world
Over the last 12 months, our customers pledged over £60 million to charities across the country, taking our grand total to over £120 million.
Most of this money has been raised through residuary gifts in wills. This is where someone chooses to leave a percentage of their estate to charity, but you can also choose to leave a specific amount if you prefer.
We're constantly amazed by the incredible generosity of our customers. From Cancer Research UK to Greenpeace to The Donkey Sanctuary, the money raised will go on to make a huge difference for future generations.
Want to know how you can write your will online in just 15 minutes? Read our ‘How to make a will’ guide here.
Need help dealing with a recent bereavement? Find out about our fixed-price probate service here.