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Coronavirus and why you need to check your Will

01 December 2020 Written by Pearsons & Ward Solicitors Category: COVID-19

We have seen that the effects of the coronavirus are extreme and long-lasting.  When thinking of the coronavirus, the last thing that most of us will have on our minds is the impact on our Will.  The importance of reviewing your Will at this time should not be underestimated, however.

Many business owners and employees have suffered financially this year.  If you have suffered financial loss you may need to rethink the terms of your Will where you have included fixed sum legacies to beneficiaries.  It may be the case that the fixed sums featured in the Will now exceed your net worth.  This could be due to the fall in the value of your share portfolio, losing your job or having a reduced income whilst on furlough.   We can guide you on the ways in which you can update your Will to ensure that your wishes are still followed.

It may be that a Beneficiary named in your Will is now insolvent.  As a result, they might not benefit from the legacy you have included in your Will.  There are ways to protect gifts made in a Will to a bankrupt Beneficiary but you may need to change your Will in order to do so.

Many of us have lost a loved one as a result of the coronavirus who may have been named as an Executor, Beneficiary or a Guardian in a Will.  It may be that you have already provided for this in your existing Will but you should remind yourself of any substitutional provisions.  You may need to add further Executors, Beneficiaries and/or Guardians as a result. 

This year we experienced a surge in the number of conveyancing transactions.  If you have relocated this year, you should consider the impact of this on the terms of your Will.  For example, have you included a gift of a specific house in your Will which you no longer own?  Is it no longer practical for the Executor or Guardian to act if they no longer live nearby? Are you now cohabiting with somebody?

Another point to consider is whether you have helped a family member through a difficult time by gifting or lending cash or other assets to them and how this is to be dealt with on your death.  We can include provisions in a Will to ensure that any lifetime gifts are taken into account where you wish to achieve overall equality between the beneficiaries of your estate.  We can also document any loans you have made and where appropriate, include a provision in your Will that any unpaid loans are to be written off on your death.

During periods of lockdown and ill health, it may be that a friend or neighbour or a charitable organisation has gone above and beyond in providing you with support during this difficult year: would you like to add a legacy to them in your Will as a result?

Our friendly and efficient lawyers are always here to help you should you wish to review your Will. 

Please call us on Malton 01653 692247 , York 01904 716000 or Wetherby 01937 583210 .

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