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Legacies and wishes – common choices in wills today

If you’re planning to write a will, you may find it useful to know what other people have been deciding for their own planning purposes.

Will Suite, a provider of software that helps professionals create legal documents, has analysed over 200,000 wills in England and Wales, to produce a report highlighting today’s trends.

Who is making a will?

In 2023 about 10% more women than men made a will, with the average age of these testators being 58. There’s been a small increase in the number of those in the 34-45 age bracket, but the majority of wills are drafted by 55-64 -year-olds.

Wills that include a partner make up over 57% of wills, but just over 42% of wills belong to a testator with no partner.

Gifts in wills

The most popular gifts in wills in 2023 were:

  • Jewellery – engagement rings, wedding rings and earrings
  • Watches – vintage and modern watches
  • Vehicles – cars, motorcycles and motor homes
  • Collections – vinyls, stamps and coins
  • Medals – service and sports medals

Popular branded gifts include Rolex, Pandora, Omega, Tag Heuer and Tiffany & Co.


Around 10% of wills included exclusions. Most likely to be excluded are sons and daughters, followed by stepsons and stepdaughters. Together these groups make up just under half of all will exclusions.

Funeral wishes

Some 53% of wills specified that an individual would prefer to be cremated, while just 8% asked for burial. The rest either opted for a different decision or made no comment on funeral arrangements.

The report notes that a Legal & General survey found that the average price for cremation in 2023 was £4,176 while burial was £5,493. Direct cremation could cost much less at under a thousand pounds.

Organ donation

Around 20% of testators pledged their organs for medical or scientific benefit in their wills. Interestingly over 80% excluded their eyes from this pledge, while just over 7% excluded their body, 7% excluded their heart, and 3% excluded their brain.


Only 5% of wills appointed professional trustees in 2023. Of the other 95%, partners acting as sole trustees were nominated in 43% of all wills, and trustees were just as likely to be men as women.

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