Pandemic leads to an increase in people making wills
Seven percent of the public made or updated their Wills following the first UK national lockdown
The Coronavirus pandemic has caused people to reflect on the importance of getting their affairs in order and ensuring their assets will pass to the intended recipients on death. However, statistics show that an astonishing 59% of the public still do not have a Will in place.
Law Society research carried out in June 2020 showed that, following the first UK lockdown, 7% of respondents (6% of whom are key workers) made or updated their Will.
Of the respondents to the survey, 24% of people had not made a Will because they didn’t think they had anything to leave behind, 20% said that they could not find the time and 18% thought they were too young to make a Will.
Why should I make a Will?
If you die without a Will (intestate), no matter your age or the size of your estate, the law will decide who inherits and will decide the proportions in which they inherit. There are provisions for spouse, children and other relatives. However, the rules of intestacy do not allow unmarried partners or close friends to inherit. This can mean loved ones can often be left with nothing.
Having a legally valid Will written by a solicitor can allow you to leave your estate to whomever you would like, avoid loved ones facing problems at an already difficult time and also allow you to carry out efficient tax planning, if required, to maximise your beneficiaries’ inheritance. A Will can also be used to specify wishes as to the guardianship of your children if you pass away before they are 18.
With the recent temporary change in legislation to allow remote witnessing of Wills for people who are vulnerable or shielding, the current restrictions will not prevent you from preparing a Will.
What else should I consider?
End of life provisions should be considered to determine your wishes in relation to medical treatment and end of life care. This can be done through ‘advance decisions’ or ‘a living Will’.
Lasting Powers of Attorney should also always be considered. Lasting Powers of Attorney allow you to choose specific trusted family members or friends to make financial and healthcare decisions on your behalf if you have lost the capacity to do so yourself.
Lasting Powers of Attorney can only be made when you still have capacity. Many are unaware of this and leave it too late, subsequently facing issues when loved ones are left lacking the capacity to make their own decision without having made Lasting Powers of Attorney.
Making Lasting Powers of Attorney alongside your Will gives you comfort in knowing that your affairs are in order both on death but also during your lifetime, if and when required.