The pandemic's positive impact on wills

It might seem odd to think that Covid-19 could bring us any positives. But, as well as working more flexibly and appreciating our freedom, the pandemic also kick-started many of us into thinking about the future.

A spike in enquiries

Back in May 2020, we wrote a blog about the spike in will-related enquiries, as well as Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) documents, that had come about due to the Coronavirus pandemic. It seems the sudden threat of mass illness shocked people into wondering what would happen in the event that they were too unwell to take care of their own affairs and wanted to make sure their families would be look

You might expect now the lockdowns have passed and that we're enjoying more freedom, that the burst of enthusiasm for planning ahead was short-lived. However, thankfully, it looks as though people are thinking much differently about wills and planning ahead - even more than a year on.

Thinking differently

According to recent statistics by Legal and General 37% of British people now "think differently" about their wills.

What's more, it seems like younger people are leading the way - really bucking the trend for those who mistakenly believe wills are something you only need to worry about when you're older.

Young people are leading the way!

Out of 2,000 adults, more than one-fifth aged 16-24 strongly agreed that their perspective had changed on will writing since the pandemic - the highest in any other age group. In fact, it appears that Millenials and Generation Z-ers were the most likely to become switched on when it came to writing wills, with 298% more Millenials writing their wills in 2020 compared to 2019 and Gen Z saw an even bigger increase of 465%.

Among those who have updated their will, 18% of 16-24-year-olds said they did so after falling ill from COVID-19 - hence why they felt as though they needed to think about their futures. Other motivations for writing a will included ensuring assets are left to the right beneficiaries (47%) and ensuring that the deceased’s family is provided for financially (43%). Just 13% said their motivation was to avoid paying more inheritance tax than required.

News having an impact

Interestingly, according to findings from Farewill.com, the day Boris Johnson was admitted to intensive care, more people wrote a will than any other day in 2020. Also, the day before restrictions lifted in May 2020 there was another spike of around 89% spike compared to the previous week.

Good news also appeared to have an impact on the stats, as the day the Pfizer vaccine was approved, Farewills saw a 35% dip. And on the third hottest day on record, there was a 26% drop in people making wills.

Back in March 2020, the search term “will writing” peaked at 11,000 searches per month, showing evidence of a will writing boom as people in the UK looked to secure their future during unprecedented times - but there is still more work to do.

The latest data reveals that in October 2021, less than half (47%) of people in the UK have a will, compared to 53% who don’t.

Can we help?

At Downs Solicitors, we've long been urging people to think ahead and to almost "plan for the worst" because we've seen time and time again how families have fallen foul of the correct legal paperwork, leaving them frozen out of loved ones' bank accounts at crucial moments.

If you've been thinking about writing your will or LPA, contact the Private Client team to see how we can help.


Mehboob Dharamsi

Mehboob Dharamsi

Partner

Tel: +44 (0) 1932 588579

Office: Cobham

Email: m.dharamsi@downslaw.co.uk