With the Covid-19 pandemic and especially the lockdown, we had an unprecedented demand from clients wishing to make a will so as to ensure the correct persons inherit from their Estate.
Death is something we all try to avoid thinking and talking about, albeit the lockdown has made a number of our clients put their affairs in order as to whom should benefit from their Estate.
No matter how old you are, it is desirable to make a Will and it is not unusual to change your Will at least 3 times during your lifetime as personal circumstances often change.
The stigma that you only need to make a Will when you have assets, for instance a property to bequeath, is not necessarily correct. You could be a parent who wants to ensure your children are taken care of by the guardian of your choice. You could be a single person, with no children or, no nearest relatives, but have friends who have helped you during lockdown, that you wish to make some provision for. There is a vast differential of circumstances for making provisions in a will.
On the 25th July 2020, the Government legalised the remote witnessing of Wills so as to make it easier for people to record their final wishes during the coronavirus pandemic. These changes will be made via new legislation in September, which amends the law to include video-witnessing.
This move maintains the vital safeguard of requiring two witnesses- protecting people against undue influence and fraud.
Should I make a Will?
• To ensure the correct persons inherit your estate. Without a Will, the law dictates who will inherit your estate (nearest blood relative).
• For married couples or civil partnerships, to make sure your spouse or partner inherits everything from your estate if that is your wish.
• For unmarried couples, to make sure that your partner is provided for.
• Ensure your children are taken care of by the guardian of your choice, and to make financial provisions for your child’s upkeep and education.
• identify the person(s) who will sort out your financial affairs after your death . Whoever you appoint will become an ‘Executor’ and are often family members, friends or professional advisors such as your solicitor.
• To minimise the amount of Inheritance Tax payable on your estate, or to help preserve assets in relation to care home fees.
• To ensure all is not lost for the children after a parent’s second marriage.
In essence it is necessary for you to make a Will, so don’t put it off until it’s too late.
Instructions can initially be provided by telephone, home visit, at the office or by Zoom Meeting.