Scotland: Apathy is stopping Scottish people making wills

Amnesty International calls on Scots to ensure those they care about don’t lose out

New research commissioned by Amnesty International in Scotland reveals only 45% of Scottish people have made a Will. The most common reason cited by respondents in the nationwide survey for not making a Will is, ‘I’ve not got round to it’ (55%) The Amnesty International-commissioned nationwide research, questioned 1,000 people living in Scotland in March 2005, and was conducted by Scottish Opinion.

This apathy means that Scottish people are at risk of seeing their loved ones and the causes they care about lose out. If you die without leaving a Will, there’s a good chance your family could incur costs and the government could be one of the key beneficiaries.

Amnesty International is calling on people to make a charitable will. To help with the will making process solicitors in towns across Scotland will offer a free will-writing service for supporters of Amnesty International during the fortnight 14 - 28 May. Qualified solicitors have donated their time and skills free of charge, to mark the anniversary on 28 May of the founding of Amnesty.

It is important to keep updating your Will as your circumstances change especially in Scotland where your old Will is not invalidated if you get married, legally separated or divorced. Yet nearly half (49%) had not changed their Will since it was made, and Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights (60%) are much less likely to change it than men (38%). People in Scotland appear to make Wills fairly late in life, only 56% of those aged 54-65 said that they had made a Will, while 76% of people aged 65+ had.

Rachel Lucien, Regional Marketing Manager of Amnesty International said:

“Almost all of us have something of material or sentimental value to leave behind as a legacy. By making a will you can ensure that your wishes are carried out. And by leaving even a small gift to Amnesty in your will, you can ensure that your beliefs and your commitment to human rights live on.”

The results of this nationwide research also show:

  • A third of generous Scots said they would consider leaving something in their Will to charity
  • 15% of those interviewed said they had already left something to charity in their will
  • Scottish Amnesty supporters are generous, with the average donations in the last year of Amnesty supporters living in Scotland being 7% higher than the UK average, and the overall donations begin 11% higher than the UK average – second only to London
  • A common reason for not making a Will is “I don’t think I have anything valuable to leave to anyone” (13%), yet almost all of us have something of value to leave
  • People living in Dumfries came out on top as being the most organized with 69% having made a Will, but only 3% have remembered a charity
  • Leading the way, as the most charitable region is Tayside, where 35% of respondents said that they had left something to charity in their Will
  • Inhabitants of the Highlands and Islands are least likely to have a Will (28%)
  • Just over half (59%) of those living in Scotland’s central belt have made a Will

Notes to editor

  1. Solicitors offering a free Will writing service to Amnesty’s supporters can be found on the website . Participating solicitors are providing the Will writing service free of charge, and may suggest a donation to Amnesty. To take part, supporters should simply choose a solicitor from the list and call them to arrange an appointment during Make a Will for Amnesty Fortnight, remembering to mention Amnesty. Supporters are under no obligation to leave a legacy to Amnesty International when taking up this offer.
  2. Amnesty International is a movement of ordinary people from across the world standing up for humanity and human rights. Its purpose is to protect individuals where justice, fairness, freedom and truth are denied.
  3. A full regional breakdown of the market research is available on request

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