Pandemic pushed more people to write wills

More than a third of respondents said Covid had made them worry about death and the finiteness of life Keystone / Samuel Golay

The number of wills in Switzerland has increased over the past three years, marked by the Covid-19 crisis. However, the initial sense of solidarity has disappeared, according to a survey by the Alliance for the Common Good.

This content was published on November 3, 2022 minutes

The pandemic has given the Swiss people pause for thought, said the allianceExternal link, a group of 44 NGOs whose aim is to create the conditions for a significantly larger share of the total wealth to be left to the non-profit sector.

In a representative survey conducted this summer among 1,035 people over the age of 45 in German- and French-speaking Switzerland, 38% of respondents said Covid had made them worry about death and the finiteness of life.

The number of people who have written a will has increased from 27% in 2019, before the pandemic, to 32%.

The main reasons given are the security of relatives, but also the desire to avoid inheritance disputes and the wish to be able to determine one’s own succession.

The Alliance for the Common Good links this to increased doubts about solidarity in society: in 2020 19% of respondents saw a decline in solidarity, compared with 37% in 2022.

‘Need for information’

According to a study by the University of Lausanne cited by the Alliance for the Common Good, around CHF95 billion ($94 billion) is inherited each year. This figure is considerably higher than the federal government’s income. Yet only 0.3% of this is paid out to charitable institutions.

In 2020, 11% of people who had made a will said that they had included charitable institutions in it. In 2022, the figure was 14%.

The pandemic has made little difference. “As before, only a very small part of the inherited money benefits non-profit organisations. And yet the respondents believe that these organisations do very important work. There is therefore a great need for information,” said Thomas Witte, president of the alliance.

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