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Will-writing soars in lockdown: have you got your affairs in order?

Which? Wills saw a 682% increase in April but new figures show the majority of people still don't have a will in place

Will-writing soars in lockdown: have you got your affairs in order?

There was a surge in the number of people making wills after the UK first went into national lockdown, Which? Wills has found.

Our wills service saw orders increase by 203% in March 2020, compared with the same period last year. In April, orders soared 682% year on year.

However, the majority of people still don’t have a will. In a recent survey by The Law Society, 56% of respondents said they hadn’t made one.

Here Which? explains why putting a will in place is easier than you think.


Why have more people been making wills?

The pandemic has led many of us to consider our own mortality. So it makes sense that more people are making plans to support their loved ones after they’re gone.

In The Law Society’s survey, 7% of respondents said they had made or updated their will during the UK’s nationwide lockdown.

Among key workers – generally at higher risk of catching COVID-19 – the figure was 6%.

Although these numbers sound small, The Law Society stresses this marks a marked shift considering how rarely people make or update a will.

‘The Law Society of England and Wales president David Greene told Which?: ‘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 as we enter the second wave of COVID-19 cases.’

What stops people writing their will?

In The Law Society’s survey, which was conducted in June 2020, only 29% said they had a will that was up-to-date and reflected their current intentions.

When The Law Society asked respondents why they didn’t have a will, 24% answered that they didn’t have anything of value to pass on.

Meanwhile, 18% said they were too young to make a will.

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Who needs to write a will?

Just because you’re young doesn’t mean you don’t need a will. If you’re over the age of 18, you should consider making one to ensure your wishes are carried out after you die.

If you die without a will, then intestacy rules will determine how your estate is divided up. This means assets are distributed to your relatives in a strict order, with no consideration for the closeness of your relationships with them.

Mr Greene told Which?: ‘Under intestacy laws, unmarried partners and close friends cannot inherit, meaning loved ones could be left with nothing.’

The only way to ensure your estate is dealt with in the way you want is to create a valid will.

Tips on writing a will quickly

The Law Society found 20% of respondents who hadn’t made a will said this was because they hadn’t found the time.

But making a will doesn’t have to be a time-consuming task. In fact, if you have a fairly simple estate, Which? Wills estimates that it can take as little as half an hour.

You also don’t have to do it all in one go. Preparing a will online with Which? Wills, you can save your progress whenever and complete it in your own time.

To speed up the process, try and determine beforehand what assets you have, who you want to be in your will and who to appoint as executors.

If you have a complex estate, you may want to consider paying for a solicitor to write the document for you.

Where to find help with writing your will

If you would like some guidance but don’t want to pay for a solicitor, you could use a will-writing service.

With Which? Wills, you can prepare your will online and then have one of our experts review it for you.

It usually takes us up to 10 days to review documents. With our Premium service, we also bind the document and send it to you.

  • Find out more: visit Which? Wills to find the right service for you
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