Why do I need a will anyway? Assessing the impact of a public legal education intervention embedded in a longitudinal survey

Pascoe Pleasence, Nigel J. Balmer, Catrina Denvir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


In England and Wales less than half of the adult population report that they have a will, with similarly low numbers found in other jurisdictions. Dying intestate can have profound implications on the family relationships, housing security, finances, employment, health and welfare of those who are left behind. Social policy initiatives designed to educate the public on the implications of intestacy offer a potential solution but remain difficult to evaluate. This article explores the results of a public legal education experiment embedded in a longitudinal panel survey. The experiment was designed to explore: (1) the impact of information provision on will creation; and, (2) how ‘opportunistic experiments’ embedded in longitudinal surveys might support public legal education (PLE) evaluation. Whilst the impact of the information intervention in this study was not found to be statistically significant, the methodology points to the possibility of testing more bespoke and substantial initiatives in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-201
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Policy and Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • evaluating interventions
  • experimental methods
  • legal knowledge and capability
  • opportunistic experiments
  • Public legal education
  • wills

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