It’s Update Your Will Week
The Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) has launched its first-ever Update Your Will Week - and we’re very much behind the campaign.
From Monday 28th March until Friday 1st April, the SFE is urging everyone to consider drafting or updating their wills as a way of encouraging us all to plan for the future - and for very good reason.
An increase in wills
Before the pandemic, around half of UK adults didn’t have a will. Plus, we also reported that around 5.4 million people didn’t even know how to get one.
But, in the early stages of the pandemic, we suddenly saw an increase in the number of will-related enquires as the seriousness of the virus and its impact on health began to sink in, particualrly for the older and more vulnerable members of society.
According to the SFE, now almost 80% of adults in the UK aged 40+ have a will in place - great news for our profession, as we’ve always encouraged people to think ahead and plan for the future. Plus, we’ve seen many times how it can go wrong if you don’t put that planning in place.
A good time to review your will
As we are now seeing the other side of the pandemic and “living with covid” now’s the time to be revisiting those wills. If they were made in a bit of a “just in case” situation, you might now want to take more time to make sure it is correct.
If you had your will prior to the pandemic, have you reviewed it recently? Did you know that new marriages will void a will - whether it is your first, second or fifth - so if you’ve recently tied the knot you might want to think about updating your will .
You might also want to consider other recent changes in circumstances, for example, if you’ve recently had more children, acquired step children, or grandchildren. If you would like them to benefit from your estate, they will need to be named in your will.
Don’t forget your LPA
While you’re reviewing important paperwork, it’s also worth considering a Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) - a document that allows you to nominate someone (an “attorney”) to act on your behalf if you become unable to do so yourself. An attorney can access your bank account and pay bills for you, or act upon instructions for any specific medical treatment you wish to receive.
It’s important to distinguish the difference between a will and an LPA - because even though more than 80% of us have a will, less than 14% have an LPA. A will only comes into effect upon your death, whereas an LPA begins when you become incapacitated. That’s why an LPA is just as important as a will - illness can be sudden, it doesn’t just happen to older people. If you were involved in an accident and couldn’t look after yourself, can someone legall act on your behalf?
The LPA process has just got a lot easier too and you can now sign a digital LPA and save yourself time.
Update Your Will Week is the perfect opportunity to get all your documents in order and it’s crucial for your to speak to a specialist SFE lawyer who can ensure your wishes are correctly communicated to minimise disputes and distress later on.
Contact the Private Client team at Downs Solicitors to see how we can help.