Covid-19 highlights the need to make a will
Wills & Probate
The coronavirus pandemic it has affected every aspect of our lives. Young and old, everyone has been touched by its effects, and we have all had to consider our lives and the preparations we have in place.
Anyone over the age of 18 with a child or family that relies on them, a business, cash in the bank or an asset (no matter how small) should consider making their will.
Even if you have made a will, if it was drafted some time ago your family situation may have changed; your younger relatives may have divorced and re-married or now be parents. A beneficiary may have pre-deceased you and their next of kin, perhaps a wife or husband, may have a partner with whom you are not on good terms. There are many examples of families fighting through the courts over their deceased relative’s estate to the extent that the legal and other costs completely erode the inheritance which could leave your loved ones in financial difficulties. Similarly, an oversight with regard to your assets in, say, Italy could result in your Italian property being handed to a remote relative under the strict Italian laws of succession.
Thinking about death is a big sticking point, with many people still not comfortable discussing it. Talking about death does not stop it from happening but knowing you have planned and got your affairs in order can bring great relief.
Make sure your loved ones are well protected by a properly drafted will.
Our tips for making a valid will:
- Your will must be in writing, it must be dated, signed and witnessed properly. You must be of sound mind and making the will without undue influence.
- Past wills – Revoke/cancel all previous wills and codicils.
- Preparation/Plan – Think about your circumstances, your assets and liabilities, and your wishes, and write them down.
- Your circumstances – If you have had other children, are separated or divorced, make sure you make a new will or amend your will
- Child(ren) under 18 or children with special needs – make sure you name legal guardians. Have you thought about replacements?
- Executors – name at least two executors, think carefully about who you appoint, and in some cases get their consent before you do.
- Witnessing a will – current Covid-19 provisions include witnessing:
- Through a window or open door of a house or a vehicle
- from a corridor or adjacent room into a room with the door open
- outdoors from a short distance, for example in a garden
- over a video call (direct to always check latest guidance on .gov site)
Beware when using templates: Yes, you can use a template that you buy, but you should know what you are doing, and understand that not everyone’s life and circumstances are the same.
Don’t put it off.
Our lawyers are also available to provide expert advice and assistance on these and other subject areas that we handle, and can be contacted on 01279 598 008 / 07958 571 391, or on email@example.com.