Estate Planning

UK lockdown highlights the importance of Will planning

New research from the Law Society shows that many people have yet to put their Wills and estates in order, even following nationwide lockdowns and fears for health. Steve Wright, our Head of Estates, explores why it’s so important to keep your Will up to date.

The events of 2020 have certainly sharpened the focus on the importance of good financial plans. Yet the majority of those in the UK still don’t have a Will, or are aware their existing one doesn’t reflect their current situation. The research was published by the Law Society and worryingly showed that 59% of UK respondents didn’t have a Will and 29% knew theirs was out of date. Encouragingly 7% of those surveyed had made or updated a Will during the first UK lockdown; a significant proportion given how many had still to make plans.

There were a range of reasons for not making a Will, with 25% of respondents not having anything of value, 20% not having the time to make one and 18% thinking they were too young.

It’s important to keep your estate plans up to date, so that you know that your loved ones will be well taken care of when the time comes. Dying without a current or valid Will can leave significant problems for those left behind – who will have to untangle the complexities of probate, intestacy (where the law determines who will inherit) and settling your financial affairs.

Making a Will is usually a straightforward process and can offer peace of mind once complete. An expert can guide you through the formalities, asking the right questions to help you think through the details of what you need to include. Helpfully the government has also brought in temporary legislation allowing Wills to be witnessed remotely; a useful step given current restrictions.

It can also be valuable to put in place a Power of Attorney – a document identifying who you want to make your financial and welfare decisions if you become unable to do so yourself. Sadly, the research showed more than two-thirds of respondents didn’t have this tool in place.

To discuss your Will or estate plans in more detail please contact your nearest office.