Wills : Coronavirus

Everybody needs a will, and all wills need to be reviewed and updated regularly but how is this possible given the current pandemic?

Everyone needs a will; Coronavirus or not

What information is required to make a will?

Here are the basics;

• Have you made a will previously and do you know where it is?

• Does your existing will include a nil rate band trust? if it does, this needs to be removed as it now creates a tax risk, even though it was designed to save tax – the rules have changed

• Figure out what you have in terms of assets and roughly what they are worth

• Identify your beneficiaries; the “who gets what” plan – family, friends, charities, etc.

• Choose your team; who do you trust to act as executors and follow the instructions in your will?

Once your will is constructed in a form that you are happy with, your solicitor can advise you about signatures and witnesses. The process can still be completed in compliance with social distancing requirements. Yes, the person making the will and 2 witnesses need to be present together when all signatures are added, but there are many ways to achieve this safely, keeping your distance via open windows, garden gates, a table in the centre of the room, etc. And, of course, washing hands.

Why is it a good idea to make a will?

• You decide who inherits what you have and your wishes are guaranteed

• At a time when your family is grieving, a clear will prevents any complications or confusion – it is one less thing for them to worry about

• You avoid the risk that distant relatives benefit from your estate

• You can choose family, friends or professional executors reassured in the knowledge that people you trust will take care of everything when you die

• You can prevent disputes or arguments with clear instructions

• You may create trusts for children or grandchildren and include rights to occupy your property after you die

• You can use the will as part of your financial planning and to deal with inheritance tax issues

• You can set out specific instructions for your funeral

• You may wish to include a list of personal items or keepsakes to pass on to named individuals

• Most importantly, you avoid the risk of dying “intestate”. Don’t assume that without a will your spouse and/or children will inherit everything anyway – the rules about intestacy are complex

Current circumstances, locally, nationally and worldwide have generated an increased demand for wills. There are strict rules to observe, but the job can still be done thoroughly and quickly, without the need to meet face to face.