At the time of writing this, 33,186 people have sadly had their lives taken away due to the Coronavirus outbreak. It’s an event that many cannot and wouldn’t think to possibly plan for, however as the weeks go by and the grim reality of the Coronavirus has set in, there is an increase in the number of people considering creating a will.
Reasons for creating a will
The most obvious reason for creating a will is to protect yourself and your assets when you pass away. Sadly there are around 180,000 people a year in Britain who die without making a will and over 8,000 unclaimed estates in England & Wales alone. Individuals that leave without a will put their families in the difficult position as they have to make certain decisions on the deceased’s behalf.
Your will states exactly what you want to happen to your estate and who should be in charge of administering this once you have passed. It’s easy for families to get caught up with small details, especially if there is no will created.
For more information, read Reasons to make a Will.
Having a will lets you avoid intestacy rules
Creating a will through a solicitor can be helpful to those who are responsible for your wishes as there is less chance for dispute.
If you pass away without a will, you will be considered as Intestate and will have no say in what happens to your estate. Instead, it would be governed by the Intestacy Rules.
According to the rules of intestacy, only close relatives, the person you’ve married or the person you’re in a civil partnership with can be beneficiaries.
As a result of these stringent rules, certain relationships may be strained. For example, an unmarried partner or co-habitee has no right to inherit any of your belongings, even if that’s what you would have wanted.
If you’re intestate and own a business or property which you wished to pass onto a specific individual, intestacy rules may result in an adverse outcome, contrary to your wishes. This causes uncertainty for people outside of your family such as employees if you own a business or the sale of a property you own.
As such, a will allows you to control how your assets are distributed amongst your beneficiaries.
If you specifically want to pass on some of your assets to a married or unmarried partner, children, step-children, grandchildren or even a charity, a will allows you do to so. Whether it’s a property, a business or personal assets such as a donation or money, having a will to cement this wish can ensure the individuals who you want to receive your assets receive them.
Why now is a good time to make your will
You can create a will at any time, there’s no age requirement or financial eligibility for making a will. Nevertheless, most people only think about creating their wills once they have a home, a growing family or want to protect certain assets they have come to own. Research has shown that in 2017, 31 million people are at risk of dying intestate with most people choosing not to make a will because they haven’t met a particular (self-imposed) criterion.
With the uncertainty surrounding the Coronavirus, individuals should be creating Wills for themselves to protect the interests of themselves and their loved ones. Make your Last will with Rocket Lawyer or learn more about Making your will.
If you’re interested to know what other documents you should consider making during this pandemic, read our blog post on Coronavirus: 5 key legal documents you should prepare.
How do you create a will during a pandemic?
We understand that this is a difficult time for most and those seeking to create a will may have trouble understanding how this can be accomplished during this period. Some firms have come up with innovative solutions for people to sign and execute their wills while following social distancing guidelines.
K J Smith Solicitors for example, have introduced a new way of creating and signing your will from the comfort of your home; Window Witnessing your Will. Once your will has been prepared, you will need two friends or neighbours to act as witnesses, who will remain outside of your home for the signing of the Will. This process can be achieved safely by taking the necessary precautions such as using your own pen, preferably wearing gloves and of course, keeping the required two-metre safe distance. Once the document has been signed, it’s sealed and posted back to K J Smith Solicitors for safe keeping.
You can watch the full demonstration video via this link, https://youtu.be/FpdmLpiV4HU.
Regardless of whether there is a pandemic looming, a will is a crucial document that you should have in order to protect you and your family’s welfare and manage your affairs.