COVID-19 triggering family conversations about inheritance and finances

Have you drafted a new Will or amended an existing one thanks to the coronavirus pandemic?

An article on the IFA Magazine website quoted from research carried out by the Handelsbanken Wealth Management firm, which showed that families are becoming more open about their finances and that the crisis had highlighted how important it is to discuss Wills and inheritance.

The research showed that the coronavirus had already triggered a third (33 percent) of people in the UK into either writing a new Will or altering an existing one.

More conversations about inheritance

Some four out of five (78 percent) of those questioned believe the pandemic will lead to more conversations about inheritance planning with their families.

However, there are still some who appear to find the topic of Wills and what they represent morbid. More than a fifth of the people in the Handelsbanken Wealth Management study said they did not have a Will and had no plans to draw one up, while one in 10 said they believed drafting a Will was tempting fate.

As the article pointed out, if someone dies without leaving a valid Will this can cause families huge problems—particularly now as complex family set ups are more common. Nearly one in seven families in the UK (13 percent) have a stepson, stepdaughter and/or adopted sons or daughters as part of their family.

Legal responsibility for stepchildren

And a fifth of parents (21 percent) have been involved in two or more romantic relationships that have meant they are legally responsible for children who are not blood relatives.

Outdated Wills can be challenged in the courts, resulting in legal fees that can lessen the value of the estate. Some 27 percent of adults questioned in the survey were confident their current Will would not offend any relatives—which leaves 73 in the position where challenges might happen. As few as 24 percent of people have amended their Will once, with 16 percent twice and 5 percent three times.

But the message that sorting out your Will is crucial appears to be getting through, with 81 percent of people believing coronavirus will persuade people to sort out their financial affairs and 83 percent saying it will convince people to draw up new Wills.

The financial aspect is also taken into account with as many as one in 10 believing the virus will negatively affect the value of the inheritance people are able to leave their families.

Alex Spreckley, head of Wealth Management at Handelsbanken Wealth Management said it was now more important than ever that families got their financial affairs in order. A watertight, up-to-date Will would help bring peace of mind.

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