It has been evidenced that there was a surge in the number of people making Wills when the UK went into the first national lockdown in March 2020 as a result of the Coronavirus Pandemic. The pandemic led to many of us considering our own mortality.
In a survey conducted by The Law Society in June 2020 it was found that 7% of respondents said they had made or updated their will during this time. Among key workers – generally at higher risk of catching COVID-19 – the figure was 6%. Although these numbers sound small, The Law Society stresses this marks a marked shift considering how rarely people make or update a will. ‘The Law Society of England and Wales president David Greene reported: ‘It is hugely encouraging so many people have made wills during the first UK lockdown. ‘But the fact remains that the overwhelming majority of the UK public do not have an up-to-date will as we enter the second wave of COVID-19 cases".
In fact, in the same survey, it was shown that the majority of people still don’t have a will, with 56% of respondents saying they hadn’t made one and only 29% saying they had a will that was up-to-date and reflected their current intentions. We understand that many people do not want to spend time thinking about their Will, there are often more pressing things to think about at that time; but it is one of life's important decisions and putting a will in place is easier than you think. A Will clearly details your wishes to your loved ones about what you would want to happen once you're gone and how you would want your estate to be managed.
When asked why they hadn't yet made a Will, 24% responded by saying that they didn't have anything of value to pass on. Your estate will include all manner of things, such as your property, your personal possessions, your savings and investments, any jointly owned assets, as well as life policies and pensions and not forgetting those digital assets. Making your Will is a key part of putting your affairs in order for later in life regardless of how much wealth you might possess and will save your family time, money and stress when dealing with your estate when you are gone.
A further 18% responded by saying they're too young to make a Will but as recent times will have shown us, we never know what the future may hold. We know that the average age of first time mums is 28 years old with the average age of mums and dads registering births being 30 and 33 years old, but only 8% of this age group have made a Will even though a Will is the only way you can appoint a legal guardian to look after your children.
Another 20% of respondents said they they hadn’t found the time. But making a will doesn’t have to be a time-consuming task. Making the time, planning ahead and taking the necessary steps now can help to make the lives of your loved ones easier and less stressful when you’re no longer around. A well structured Will can also help protect your estate for your loved ones as well as reduce the impact of Inheritance Tax and other costs.
With so many options available in creating a Will, it can quickly become overwhelming. However, with the proper guidance, your Will can be easily crafted to fit your needs while giving you peace of mind. Whilst you don't need to use a professional to help you write your Will, many people prefer this option since it gives them the reassurance knowing that their wishes will be properly and accurately recorded. When choosing a professional, make sure you work with a Will Writer who is qualified and experienced, such as a Trust and Estate Practitioner (TEP) who is a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), or a member of the Institute of Professional Willwriters (IPW) or Society of Will Writers (SWW) or a solicitor who specialises in Private Client work.