Almost seven out of ten people (70%) waited until they were aged 55 or over to make their will, research shows.
A study carried out for independent chartered financial planners The Private Office shows that one in three (36%) wait until they were over 65.
The figures rise to almost 85% of people waiting until they were at least 45 with just one in 10 people making their will between the ages of 35 and 44 – the age at which most people will have already started a family.
A spokesman for The Private Office said nine in ten respondents to the survey hold an estate worth £325,000 or more, which includes property, savings and investments.
Given that any amounts over £325,000 could be subject to an inheritance tax liability – excluding the main residence nil rate band – loved ones could be faced with a 40% tax bill on amounts passed down over the threshold.
Although the spokesman said the figures are worrying, 60% of respondents say they plan to make a will this year. He said the current pandemic could have prompted more people to get their affairs in order.
David Dodgson, Partner at The Private Office, added: “It’s no secret that the global pandemic has made us all more aware of our own mortality but hopefully this will act as a catalyst for the vast majority who would otherwise leave it shockingly late to make a will, particularly those with children.
“Plan ahead and think about your loved ones. Getting your financial and practical affairs in order now, will help them avoid having to deal with a financial and administrative burden at a time of great emotional distress.”