The importance of the “key worker” has become much more prominent over the last few months, with supermarket assistants, nurses and other key members of society working hard to keep the country and local communities moving. It may however, be surprising to learn that solicitors “acting in connection with the execution of wills” were listed as a key occupation. It does, however, become clear when you stop to think about it, especially as the outbreak of the coronavirus has reminded people across the globe of topics they often prefer to ignore.
According to the Law Society, some solicitors’ firms have seen double the normal number of enquiries about will writing since lockdown began in March. More people, in the face of the virus, discovered that having a will suddenly jumped up in their list of priorities.
Writing a will forces you to recognise your own mortality, which is why it is often deferred or delayed. The coronavirus pandemic, however, has provided an additional incentive and has prompted many people into action. Watching the death toll rise over the last few months has made many individuals review exactly how prepared they are for the future.
Preparing in advance
This coronavirus’s prompt-into-action is important, however difficulties with last minute solutions are a reminder as to why it is much better to prepare in advance.
In England and Wales, the Wills Act 1837 requires the signature of the person making the will to be witnessed by two people who are physically present at the signing, and neither witness should be a beneficiary under the will. These different and necessary features have been challenging to meet following the government’s previous lockdown rules, further highlighting the importance of preparation.
Over half of the British adult population currently do not have a will. Without one, the rules of intestacy determine how your estate will be distributed upon your death. These rules do not automatically pass everything to a surviving spouse, nor do they make any provision for unmarried couples.
Stay in control
Having a will allows you to decide who receives what from your estate, meaning that you can control when and how your assets are distributed.
Ideally, your will should work alongside your estate planning to develop a structure that meets your long-term financial goals in a tax-efficient manner.
It is likely that changes in estate planning will be announced in the autumn Budget, and so it is important to start preparing for the future sooner, rather than later.
The coronavirus pandemic has showed us that you should review your lifetime planning options regularly, especially now, to adjust your strategies in light of the UK’s current financial position. Even if you do have a will, do not file it away and forget about it. It should be adapted to reflect changes in your own personal circumstances as well as changes to tax rules and regulations.
KLO Financial Services
Without specialist planning, the rules on inheritance tax, estate planning and will writing can end up costing your loved ones much more than you may anticipate. Every person has their own expectations as to what happens to their finances after they pass away, our team are here to ensure that this is executed as best as possible.
At KLO Financial Services, we are always available to meet with you to discuss your financial objectives and assess your current strategies. The first consultation is always free and comes with no obligation. If you would like to speak to one of our expert financial advisers, please contact us today by calling 01926 492406.