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20million parents haven’t written a will

5 minutes

88% of parents plan to pass on wealth to their children and grandchildren in a will, but 59% haven’t written a will yet

  • Only 41% of parents have written a will.
  • 87% haven’t spoken to a financial adviser about the best way to pass on wealth.
  • Over 1million grandparents have given £10,000 to their grandchildren.*



Over our lifetime many of us will accumulate assets which we plan to pass on. Yet the majority of parents (a staggering 59%) haven’t organised their affairs to ensure that these wishes can be fulfilled.

If you don’t have a valid will, legislation usually determines who inherits your estate. So there is a benefit to writing a will and making your wishes clear.

Check out 10 things to know if you’re thinking of writing a will.

How UK parents plan to pass on their wealth

Leave it in a will 88%
Process a bank transfer or give cash 67%
Consult a financial adviser for advice 57%
Write their wealth into trust 56%
Put money into an investment 53%
Put money into a pension for their children/grandchildren 43%

Make sure more of your estate goes to your beneficiaries rather than the taxman

The rise in value of housing and other assets means inheritance tax can also potentially be a dampener for many estates. In fact Government figures shows that inheritance tax receipts during the tax year 2020 to 2021 were £5.4billion*, but it is relatively simple to minimise this with some careful planning.

As of June 2022, when someone dies without estate planning or a valid will in place, there could be large inheritance tax bills to pay if the value of a person’s estate exceeds £325,000. Estate planning can save people a huge amount of tax and ensure your family receive a financial legacy you want them to have. Inheritance Tax is usually charged at 40% on anything above the nil rate band – so the potential tax savings most likely exceed the cost of taking financial advice. 

Although research from our Wealth and Wellbeing Research Programme** showed that 43% of parents didn’t plan to speak to a financial adviser about the best way to pass on their wealth, financial advice could help navigate the options that are available and ensure that you have done things like writing a will, use gifting allowance or put assets into trust. 

How people can pass on wealth to the next generation

People have several options to reduce inheritance tax liabilities including:


Up to £3,000 can be gifted each tax year and is immediately outside your estate for inheritance tax purposes (up to £6,000 if the exemption wasn’t used in the previous tax year). Other gifts will normally only fall outside your estate if you survive for seven years after making them.

Passing on a pension

Most pension pots will not be part of your estate for inheritance tax purposes, so it can be beneficial to consider spending other assets first.

Gifted income

If you have more income (pension or otherwise) than you need to maintain your normal standard of living and you regularly gift the excess income away on a habitual basis, these gifts could fall under the ‘normal expenditure out of income’ inheritance tax exemption. This means that they won’t be chargeable to inheritance tax even if you don’t survive seven years after gifting. (It is best to seek professional advice if looking to rely on this exemption, to ensure the gifted income qualifies).

Taking out a life insurance policy to cover the tax bill

If your estate is likely to be liable for inheritance tax, you could consider taking out a whole of life insurance policy placed in trust that will cover the tax bill. Alternatively, if gifting assets to bring your estate below the inheritance tax threshold, a level term life assurance policy that lasts for seven years (the time the gift remains in your estate) may be more appropriate.

Using trusts

If not ready to make outright gifts, the use of trusts allows you to move assets outside your estate, but still retain control over who will benefit and when. As the person setting up the trust, you can’t normally be a trust beneficiary as well. However, there are some trusts (for example, loan trusts) that allow you to retain access to the funds, whilst still offering inheritance tax advantages. When using trusts, financial advice will nearly always be needed.

*These statistics are from our Wealth and Wellbeing Research Programme conducted in September 2021 which found that of all grandparents that gave money to their grandchildren:

  • 15% (1.1m) gave more than £10,000
  • 10% (775,000) gave more than £20,000
  • 7% gave more than £50,000

**The LV= Wealth and Wellbeing Research Programme is a quarterly survey of 4,000 people to understand UK consumers and their attitudes to their personal finances and wellbeing. The statistics shown here are as a result of the survey we conducted in December 2021.