COVID-19 – Can I Make a Will in Lockdown?
In light of the spreading coronavirus and the devastating increase in the number of deaths, it is not surprising that we have been inundated with requests for Wills.
Many of our clients have concerns about being able to prepare a Will in the current lockdown period. Here at DRN, we have protocols in place to ensure that our clients can prepare new Wills and/or amend existing Wills whilst self-isolating.
The government has deemed this essential key work. We have various measures in place to ensure this can be done safely, which will differ dependent upon your circumstances and the technology that is available to you. Please be assured that DRN solicitors are committed to making this service as accessible as possible, so even if you do not possess modern technologies such as a laptop, computer or smartphone, it is still entirely possible for us to prepare and execute a Will for you.
Why do I need to write a Will?
A Will is important because this is the only way that you can dictate how your assets are to be distributed after you’re gone. In absence of a Will, your estate will be dealt with under the Rules of Intestacy. Under these rules, your assets will be divided based upon family connections, which may not reflect the true depth of your relationships.
What will happen if I pass away without a Will in place?
Married or in a civil partnership with children
Your spouse or civil partner will receive the first £270,000 of your estate, after which your children will receive the remaining balance in equal shares.
Married or in a civil partnership with no children
Your spouse or civil partner will receive the full extent of your all your estate.
Unmarried without children
Your estate will pass to your parents, if they are still living. If they have also passed, your estate will be divided amongst your siblings. If there are no siblings to receive it, it will pass to grandparents and, failing that, extended family, such as aunts, uncles and cousins.
Unmarried with no relatives
If you pass intestate and have no living relatives to receive your assets, they will be obtained by the Crown.
Writing a Will is the only way to guarantee that your assets are divided as you wish amongst those who are closest to you. For example, under the above rules, if you were to pass intestate, a cohabitee, partner or close friend would not be entitled to inherit any of your personal belongings or assets.
Expressing your wishes to a friend or family member whilst alive unfortunately will not be enough to guarantee your wishes are met upon your death.
What can I do if my relative has passed without a Will, or the Will does not reflect their wishes accurately?
If you find yourself in the above situation, there are a number of options available to you. If negotiating directly with those family members listed in the Will is not proving to be successful, you may be able to bring a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. This Act allows certain people to make a claim against the estate, whether or not there is a Will in place for reasonable financial provision.
A spouse or civil partner is entitled to such financial provision as is reasonable in all circumstances, whether or not this is for their maintenance. Generally, they will be entitled to an amount to cover the same standard of life they enjoyed before.
Any other party who is able to claim under the Act is entitled to such financial provision as is reasonable for their maintenance. Maintenance has a specific definition and does not necessarily mean basic subsistence maintenance.
Under the Act, the following parties can claim:
- Spouse or civil partner;
- Former spouse or former civil partner, who has not remarried or entered into a new civil partnership;
- Somebody who was in a relationship with the deceased for at least two years prior to them passing;
- A child of the deceased (including adult child);
- A person treated as the deceased’s child (including adopted children, fostered children, step-children or close grandchildren);
- Somebody being maintained financially by the deceased.
If you would like to prepare or update your Will, please do not hesitate to contact Nick Dearing at DRN Solicitors on 01282 433241, or via email at ND@drnlaw.co.uk.
If you would like to discuss bringing or defending a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, please contact Alison Rowley on 01282 433241, or via email at AR@drnlaw.co.uk.