Wills during Covid and human behaviour – are you in control of yours?
June 9th, 2020 by Nightingale Law Ltd
The number of Wills made during the lockdown rose significantly not just in the UK but worldwide during the coronavirus pandemic. Why? Because people wanted to take ‘control’ of their lives – and deaths. Due to the pandemic, many of us have in recent months reflected far more on our own mortality than any other time in our lives.
Lockdown for many people has been a stressful time when routine has been disrupted and anxiety levels have increased. This is one of the reasons many people felt compelled to make a Will now, despite having put it off for many years. The other reason of course is that many people whilst on furlough suddenly had much more time on their hands to do the things that they hadn’t got around to. Of course some found they had less time on their hands whilst trying to juggle homeworking with childcare responsibilities during lockdown. What was clear for most was that it wasn’t wise to put it off any longer. During the lockdown, making a Will suddenly became one of the most important things on the ‘to do’ list! People started to take ‘control’ and wanted to put their affairs in order – just in case.
A Will is one of the most important documents that anyone can create to help and protect their loved ones, yet we know that most people have still not made a Will. In fact many people die intestate. ‘Intestacy’ occurs where a person dies without leaving a valid Will and is said to have died ‘intestate’, as opposed to ‘testate’. If someone dies testate then their Will dictates how their belongings are distributed. If intestacy occurs then the deceased persons estate is distributed according to the rules of intestacy. In other words they lose control of how their (estate) belongings and possessions are distributed. So, if you want to have control over what happens to ‘your’ estate when you die then you need to create a Will.
Here are some of the reasons people often give for not making a Will.
- I’ll make my Will later
- I don’t have time to make my Will
- I can’t afford to make a Will
- I haven’t got round to it yet
- If I don’t think about it (death), it won’t happen
What does human behaviour tell us here? Well, many people wrongly assume that creating a Will is not relevant until a certain age or that it is only something to consider during a life threatening illness. A Will is relevant for anyone, at any stage of life. An estate doesn’t mean only property, it also includes other possessions, for instance jewellery, a record or book collection, savings, pets and so forth.
Lives of course change over time. People get divorced, get married, have children, buy property, etc. These are all good reasons not just to make a Will but to also keep it updated. It’s a good idea to review your Will every 5 years or so. It might be that you don’t need to go to the expense of creating a new Will, for instance if there has been a minor change in circumstances it may be that your original Will can be amended with a Codicil.
The increase in demand for Wills during lockdown indicates a heightened awareness of our mortality during this period. Making a Will became a top priority for many people during lockdown. As the lockdown eases and people begin to return to some sort of ‘new normal’ human behaviour dictates that most people will not reflect as much on their mortality as they did during lockdown. Many people will become distracted by busy and often challenging lives trying to juggle many responsibilities. Nevertheless, the importance of making a Will remains a high priority for everyone – whether they realise it or not. This is one of the reasons that Nightingale Law offered free Wills to NHS workers during lockdown. No-one was busier during lockdown than our NHS community. Nightingale Law recognised that this community genuinely didn’t have the time to create a Will which is why we offered them free Wills to make the task easier for them.
At Nightingale Law we have listened to our customers and made it easier to make a Will. We appreciate that during the Will making process you need time for reflection before completing your Will. So, you can make your Will in stages if you prefer, either using our Online Wills tool or by giving us instructions. The Online Wills tool has strict criteria, if you do not meet this criteria then we will take instructions for your Will to ensure your Will reflects your wishes. We are operating remotely so we can meet with you via video if you prefer. We also work with highly trained professional Will Writers across the UK who are members of the Institute of Professional Will Writers and can arrange for your local representative to discuss your Will with you, if you prefer. We understand that you may be anxious about meeting in person so we will use technology where appropriate and legally compliant. We understand that human behaviour is so critically important to controlling the virus and limiting transmission. So as we continue our journey during these uncertain times we at Nightingale Law will continue to monitor the situation so that we can deliver our service by keeping our customers, staff and partners safe.
We don’t charge high street prices. Our Wills are affordable and a quote based on your specific requirements can be provided.
So do yourself and your loved ones a favour and make the time to create your Will. Take control of what happens to your estate when you die. Don’t put it off any longer – make your Will today.
Stay Safe – Social Distance – Save Lives
Take ‘control’ and create your Will today