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UK Wills & Probate Market 2018: Consumer Research Report

  • ID: 4751476
  • Report
  • Region: United Kingdom, Great Britain
  • 61 Pages
  • IRN Research
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The latest consumer research findings from the author show that only 37% of adults have made a will, and an estimated 2 million adults made a will in the last 12 months. The wills market is skewed towards older age groups with over six out of ten adults in the over 55s age group having made a will.

The Wills & Probate Consumer Research Report 2018 is the second in a series of new reports on the legal services market and offering insights into consumer behaviour, perceptions, brand awareness, and opinions. This report is based on responses from 1,034 consumers including 379 that have made a will, and 291 that have been involved in estate administration (probate).

Other headlines from the survey include:

  • Despite competition from other providers, a majority using external advisors still use law firms and solicitors for both wills advice/support and probate advice/support.
  • There is some client loyalty with over 4 out of 10 clients of law firms and solicitors going back to a law firm/solicitor that they have used before.
  • Most consumers think that the wills market is regulated and this is likely to be compromising consumer choice.
  • So far, there has been limited use of related services such as will storage, funeral plans, care plans, and lasting power of attorney advice. But significant numbers of consumers are interested in these services suggesting that there is a market opportunity here.
  • Fixed fees are commonplace in the wills market and are becoming more popular in the probate sector: almost half of all individuals using a professional probate advisor paid a fixed fee.
  • The option to prepare wills via email or text would encourage some individuals to consider making a will, i.e. around a third of the national sample.
Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown
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1. Executive Summary

  • Overview
  • Wills market skewed to older consumers
  • Law firms and solicitors still the main source of wills advice
  • Some consumer loyalty, while limited use of Internet
  • Most individuals turn to family members as estate executors
  • Consumer satisfaction with the advice offered is relatively good
  • Fixed fees are now ubiquitous
  • The median fee for a will is between £101 and £150
  • DIY will writing – the option for just over one in ten
  • Various factors would be important when choosing a will writer
  • Most consumers assume the wills market is regulated
  • Limited use of other services, but some consumer interest
  • Solicitors still seen as best source for advice, but also interest in DIY wills
  • Also, interest in financial services brands as will writers
  • No problems for most of those dealing with probate
  • Majority use a professional advisor, mainly law firms and solicitors
  • Fixed fees becoming more important
  • Market trends
  • The future

2. Introduction

  • Report coverage
  • Methodology

3. Background

  • Key findings
  • Fewer than four out of ten adults have made a will
  • “Peace of mind” – the main reason for making a will
  • Just not got round to it – main reason for not making a will
  • Email/text completion of wills – it could encourage more to have one

4. Legal Advisors Used

  • Key findings
  • Law firms and solicitors still dominate the will writing market
  • Some consumer loyalty for law firms and legal advisors
  • Most appoint executors in their will, usually private individuals
  • A minority involved with probate and it’s simple for most

5. The Will Writing Process

  • Key findings
  • Over 8 out of 10 are very satisfied or satisfied clients
  • Fixed fee charging is now commonplace, median fee £101 - £150
  • Uptake of related services remains very low

6. DIY Will Writing

  • Key findings
  • Just over 10% opted for the DIY approach

7. Will Writing – Consumer Choices

  • Key findings
  • It’s all about good quality, quick preparation, at the right price
  • Solicitors may be best qualified but many would still try the DIY approach
  • Some general interest in services in related areas
  • Digital legacies – over a quarter have put in their wills or are likely to

8. Regulations And New Players

  • Key findings
  • Most consumers are unaware that will writing is not regulated
  • Some interest in financial services brands offering will writing services

9. Dealing With Estate Administration

  • Key findings
  • Probate is a simple process for most
  • Those using professional advisors mainly turn to law firms and solicitors
  • Almost half paid advisors using a fixed fee model
  • Over 8 out of 10 clients are satisfied ones
  • Do-it-yourself probate – over 4 in 10 are doing it

10. Market Trends

  • Key findings
  • Will writing – a fragmented and increasingly price-driven market
  • Probate market growth again in 2017 after decrease in 2016

11. Future Developments

  • Key findings
  • An ageing population should help demand for other services
  • Boost for guardianship services
  • Number of deaths to increase
  • Probate changes

List of Figures
Figure 1 Demographic breakdown of survey sample
Figure 2 Adults currently with or without a will (%)
Figure 3 Demographic breakdown of those with a will (%)
Figure 4 Time when the will was made (%)
Figure 5 Reasons for preparing a will (%)
Figure 6 Reasons for not preparing a will (%)
Figure 7 Likelihood of preparing an email/text will (%)
Figure 8 Options for preparing the will (%)
Figure 9 Methods of choosing a will writing service (%)
Figure 10 Individuals and commercial entities appointed as executors of wills (%)
Figure 11 Professional executor – reasons for not appointing (%)
Figure 12 Satisfaction with will writing services (%)
Figure 13 Payment method for the will writing service (%)
Figure 14 Final cost for the will writing service including VAT (number)
Figure 15 Other services used related to will writing (%)
Figure 16 Reasons for writing their own wills and use of will websites (%)
Figure 17 Costs of DIY wills (%)
Figure 18 Importance of factors when choosing a will writing service (%)
Figure 19 Agreement with statements on will providers and DIY wills (%)
Figure 20 Planning for later life/bereavement – options of interest (%)
Figure 21 Charitable donations and digital legacies (%)
Figure 22 Charitable donations and digital legacies by age group (%)
Figure 23 Opinions on will writing market and regulation (%)
Figure 24 Likely use of specific brands for will writing services (%)
Figure 25 Level of agreement with statements on the probate process (%)
Figure 26 Kind of professional/external advisor used (%)
Figure 27 Fee models for probate services (%)
Figure 28 Final fees paid (%)
Figure 29 Satisfaction with professional advisor (%)
Figure 30 Experiences of those administrating estates (%)
Figure 31 Estimate of those with a will in adult population – Great Britain
Figure 32 Trends in grants of representation in England and Wales, 2011-2017
Figure 33 The percentage of the UK population aged 55 and over 2017-2022

Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown
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