As you may have seen from Boris Johnson’s speech on May 10th, the lockdown rules are about to be relaxed for specific types of workers. However, that does not mean that the lockdown has been entirely lifted. It’s important that we stay aware of our own action and keep up with social distancing. If we want to protect our families from Covid-19, then we need to think more about the future. Have you been thinking about making a will? It may be the best thing to do if you want to prepare for the worst. Gowing Law Solicitors, and our trained will-making specialists can help you draft your wishes into a specific written format. That way you can ensure that, even after you have passed, you can leave something behind for your family, friends and loved ones.
Is this your first will?
We all need to start somewhere! Making a will is going to be one of the hardest things you have ever done in your life. It can be difficult to confront our own mortality. However, the main purpose behind a will is to let your loved ones know exactly what your wishes are after you have died. Your will should contain information about:
- Your financial assets
- Any land/Property
- Legal guardianship
- Your investments & debts
- Mortgages & tax
For some people this may be very simple, but for others it may be a bit more complicated. That is why it is essential that you create a will checklist that can organise your thoughts. Check out our will making checklist below:
Use our list whilst looking at your own property and the assets that you legally have possession over. When you have listed out each of these assets, make sure to tick them off on our checklist. By the time you have finished the checklist, this should have helped you list out all of your requests and what should be passed on to your benefactors. If you are interested in learning more information about the basics of constructing your will, make sure to have a look at this useful video by The Law Society. It will help tie up any loose ends:
If you have any additional questions, remember to ask your specialist will creation expert from Gowing Law Solicitors. They can help put your mind at ease and solidify your will check list.
What should not go in a will?
Some parts of your property may not actually be yours to give away. It’s important to remember that some properties or assets already have a default heir listed upon your passing. These are some examples of what you should avoid putting in your will:
- Living Trust Properties
A living trust will move straight to the beneficiary and completely skip probate. If you add it to your will then it may create contradictions, i.e. in who is the beneficiary.
- Joint Tenancy Properties
As this is owned by both you and another person, the joint tenancy property will go to the “survivor.” This is known as the “right of survivorship.” It means that there is an automatic pathway to give the second owner the full rights to the property, including any accounts or savings.
- Life Insurance
If you have a life insurance policy in place, it does not need to go into your will. This insurance policy will already go to a pre-arranged beneficiary. You can choose the beneficiary/ beneficiaries by updating your policy at any time.
- 401(k)s, 403(b)s, pensions, and IRAs
If you have already created these financial agreements, then they will come with a set beneficiary/beneficiaries. That means you will need to update those contracts as often as you update your will. Just make sure that you keep them separate. That way they won’t contradict each other.
Finding a Will Executor
If this is your first will, it’s important that you enlist the help of someone who can be trusted to carry out the wishes of your will. This will be your Will Executor. Keep in mind that this can be two people if you wish to divide up the responsibility, such as your partner, children or perhaps a very close relative.
The duties of your will executor include:
- Helping beneficiaries receive what is owed to them
- Paying any bills owed by you or your estate
- Tax Payments
- Valuing and distributing your estate (depending on your will)
- Appearing in court to settle disputes
- Probate applying
- Ensuring that they have the latest version of the will
- Arranging your funeral
This can be quite a hard job, so make sure that your executor is present when you visit your solicitor for appointments about your will. They can inform your executor about how they can fulfill their responsibilities should they get complicated.
Corona Virus & Will Inquiries
Presently, the UK has experienced over 31,855 deaths due to the Corona Virus. This is why there has recently been an increase in will inquiries from many different areas of the UK. Svenja Keller, the head of wealth planning from Killik & Co has claimed:
“We have seen an increase in the number of enquiries regarding wills since the Coronavirus outbreak – roughly an increase of 50% compared to April last year – the majority of which are for new will clients.”
Now, you may feel like you do need a will. Covid-19 is an invisible threat that can affect anyone, especially if you are a part of the older generation. So, now that you understand the basics of making a will, you may be asking how you can make one for yourself. You can make one with the help of the Government website, but this may leave you confused if you are trying to adhere to social distancing policies.
This is why you may need the help of a Gowing Law Will Solicitor in Manchester to clarify your current situation. We can ensure that you remain completely safe in your home whilst we validate your will.
Making a Will during Lockdown
Over the last few weeks, Covid-19 has changed the way that we have all live our lives. Some people may be suffering from a unfair dismissal whilst others may have been furloughed whilst they isolate. If you want to keep yourself safe as you create your will, Gowing Law Solicitors can help you. We understand that you may want to keep all face-to-face communication at a minimum, which is why we will ensure that any discussion of your will can be over the phone or through a video call.
But this isn’t the only thing that can help you create your will. Read on below to learn the top 5 ways you can make your will without breaking social distancing regulations. You can apply these tips to both our solicitors and your witnesses.
Adhere to Social Distancing
Although it will be quite difficult to find witnesses to sign your will, all you need to make sure is that each of you can see each other sign the will. Make sure that each of your participants can add their names, addresses and signatures. Keep an eye on the latest laws and updates as the situation in the UK can change fast. On the 11th May 2020, there has even been news that the courts will reopen in Wales. Therefore, it is likely that more news on will construction may be coming up soon. Make sure to keep an eye on the BBC and their latest updates. Just remember, you can create a will during this challenging time. You may just need to get creative with how it is witnessed!
On your Behalf
Now, normally when you make a will, you will need to have two impartial witnesses that have no right to anything from the will itself. However, in some circumstances this may not be possible. For instance, if you have a serious illness, dementia or cannot sign the will on your own, you will need someone else to act on your behalf. However, you will need to have a confirmation that you are aware of the contents of the will, and that you were happy to have the will signed on your behalf. You must be fully aware of everything that was written in the will to ensure its validity. Make sure to tell your solicitor this as well. They will let you know whether or not you need a medical practitioner’s statement to confirm that you understand what you are signing in your will.
What to do if you already have a will?
It is normal to want to change your will around every 5 years. Your circumstances are not going to stay the same. People are going to come in and out of your life over time. Therefore, you need to be prepared for it.
If you want to change your will, then you can follow the same procedures as if you were creating a new will. Adhere to the social distancing policies and work with Gowing Law Solicitors remotely. We can look at your previous will, speak to you about what you want change and then help your draft up something new. We can work with you until you are completely happy with your new will. Then you will need to find witnesses to sign the new contract. Do not worry. We can help guide you through all of this, as we understand it may get a little tricky with the lockdown laws in place.
Any future minor amendments can be added to your will as a “codicil”. However, keep in mind that this must be signed and witnessed like your will. You do not have to have the same witnesses for any amendments that you make.
Gowing Law Solicitors can help you!
You can work on a will by yourself with the help of information on the internet. However, it is better to hire a lawyer to make your will. That way you can avoid common pitfalls and ensure your will’s validity. Gowing Law’s will experts can talk you through what you need to include in your will. They can offer specialist advice to ensure it is fully personalised to your wishes. Once it is completed, we can also keep it safe until you either need it or want to change it.
For more information, you may want to visit our will writing page. There you can learn more about our prices and services about making a will. From there, you can get in touch with our specialists. Check it out through our link below:
Contact our Manchester will lawyers now
If you have any questions about writing or changing a will during the lock down, please call Gowing Law Solicitors on 0800 041 8350 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also use our contact page if you want to use our direct messaging system.
We look forward to hearing from you soon!