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Pandemic spurs people to get a will but 45 million still don’t have one

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

The global pandemic has prompted UK adults to draw up important legal documents relating to their death but more than 45 million still do not have a will, according to research.

Financial services firm Canada Life found that over the last year 4.9 million people have written a will, 4.1 million people have written a living will and 5.4 million have changed or added guardians for their dependents to their existing will.

Some 4.6 million people have engaged a solicitor or the Office of the Public Guardian to register a lasting power of attorney, while 4.1 million have completed an Expression of Wish form for their pension.

However, the study revealed 45.2 million people still haven’t started the process of writing a will or a living will.
Dying without a will in place leaves all of the control with the legal system which decides who should inherit your estate.

Neil Jones, tax and estate planning specialist at Canada Life said: “Despite wills and estate planning remaining a sensitive subject for households across the UK, the global pandemic has clearly prompted many people into taking action. While mortality remains a taboo subject, having the paperwork in place can take away much of the emotional and financial pressure at a very difficult time.

“A basic will can be easy to put in place if your affairs are not complicated and can make all the difference on your passing, ensuring not only a speedy distribution of your estate but also ensure the correct people receive the right assets.”

Lawyers have warned that the number of wills being challenged by families has more than doubled during the coronavirus pandemic, with questions being raised about how a relative’s will was executed, who was in attendance and how capacity was established.