Is the future of your loved ones in good hands?

By 15th February 2021Louise's Column

Coronavirus spurs one in six to take action on their Will

Have you decided what will happen to your property and belongings after your death? It is never too early to be thinking of making a Will and to ensure that your assets and estate go to the people you want them to. If you don’t, that may not happen.

Planning for the future is not complete without making a Will and it is something you may need to re-visit many times during your life. Research shows the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spurred one in six adults (15%) into action on their Will, whether this is enquiring about a Will (7%), updating an existing Will (6%) or creating a new one (4%)[1].

Delays inheriting assets
Not having an up-to-date Will can cause many complications and delays for loved ones when it comes to inheriting assets. Dying intestate – the legal term for not leaving a Will – can leave considerable costs and complications for people left behind to deal with, alongside the heartache of grieving. These complications can be greater for homeowners or parents with dependent children, so the importance of writing or updating a Will is far greater for them.

It is particularly important to make or review a Will if you face a significant life event such as marriage, having children or divorce. Your actions now will do a great deal to help your loved ones after you’re gone. Getting married or entering into a registered civil partnership will automatically revoke any Will you already have unless it made a reference to your marriage.

Why you need a Will
It’s important to make sure that after you die, your assets and possessions (known as your estate) will go to the people and organisations (known as your beneficiaries) you choose, such as family members and charities you want to support.

Your estate includes your personal possessions, as well as assets such as:
Property (in the UK or overseas)
Savings and investments
Insurance funds
Pension funds

Main prompt for people
Have you made sure your wishes will be carried out to make it easier on those left behind? Unfortunately, research reveals that only two in five adults (41%) have a valid Will in place. The pandemic has been the main prompt for people to review their Will, with one in four (24%) reviewing their Will because of it. More time at home was a top prompt (21%) for reviewing a Will, followed by concerns about becoming ill (11%) and the death of a loved one (10%).

Of those who have a Will, one in seven (13%) admitted it was out of date, rising to nearly one in five (18%) among those who have previously been married, which increases the risk of assets going to the wrong person.

Unable to create a Will
More than four in ten (44%) homeowners have no valid Will in place – risking their home going to the wrong person. Around two-thirds (63%) of parents with dependent children also do not have a valid Will – creating potential complications over guardianship.

Preparing for the eventuality of our own death can feel morbid and many people put off making a Will until they are older for this very reason. However, no one can predict what will happen in life and unfortunately, people do sometimes pass away suddenly or sustain an injury or illness which renders them unable to create a Will.

Source data:
[1] Commissioned by Royal London, Opinium surveyed 2,001 UK adults in September 2020.