The Covid-19 pandemic has led to an increase in the number of people making or updating a will, but many have yet to put their affairs in order.
Research by the Law Society shows that 7% of all respondents and 6% of those who identified as keyworkers made or updated their will during the first UK-wide COVID-19 lockdown.
Law Society president David Greene said the coronavirus pandemic has made people reflect on how vital it is to make sure their loved ones are taken care of if they were to die.
However, the survey also showed that well over half (59%) of those surveyed said they did not have a will. Just 29% said they have an up-to-date will which reflects their current intentions.
The main reasons respondents gave for not making a will were not having anything of value to leave to their loved ones (24%), not finding the time to make a will (20%) and thinking they were too young to make a will (18%).
Mr Greene said: “It is hugely encouraging so many people have made wills during the first UK lockdown, but the fact remains that the overwhelming majority of the UK public do not have an up-to-date will.
“In some demographics – such as urban and BAME communities – will-making is particularly uncommon. Only 25% of those from a BAME background had a will, compared to 42% of white respondents. Similarly, only 36% of people in urban areas had a will compared to 54% from rural areas.
“Many people are unaware of the chaos they can leave behind if they do not make a will or regularly update one to reflect their current wishes.
“If someone dies without making a will – also known as dying intestate – the law determines how much of their estate their spouse, children and other relatives will inherit. Under intestacy laws, unmarried partners and close friends cannot inherit, meaning loved ones could be left with nothing.
“Writing a legally valid will with the help of an expert solicitor ensures people’s estates are inherited exactly as they would choose and can prevent a whole raft of problems landing on loved ones when they are grieving.
“The government has also recently introduced temporary legislation to permit remote witnessing for wills so those who cannot make a will in person during the pandemic can ensure their wishes are up to date.”
Please contact Jamiel Zaman if you would like advice about making a will or any aspect of wills and probate.