A year of change – it is time for a new Will?

28th May 2021 Wills, Trusts & Estate Planning

Whether you have lost a loved one, gained a new one, bought a house, or a had a lockdown wedding, there is a never ending list of lifetime events that might require you to reconsider your existing Will, or finally put one place.

Over the last 14 months, people’s lives have changed dramatically and their financial and personal circumstances are likely to be very different to what they were in March 2020. Throughout the pandemic, we have seen a boom in house purchases, babies being born (or made!), lockdown engagements and weddings, and sadly a number of family members passing away. I take a look in this blog at how any one of the “Big 4” might affect your Will and Estate Planning needs.

Home Sweet Home

Whilst not a holiday anyone envisaged wanting over a year ago, the holiday from Stamp Duty Land Tax has seen an incredible surge in house purchases. Whether you are a first time buyer, buying a second home, or downsizing, buying a property will naturally change the size of your estate, and as such your possible exposure to Inheritance Tax and the need to plan to mitigate against the same. Your existing Will might also mention a specific property, in which you no longer own or reside. If that were the case, it would be essential to update your Will to ensure that the correct property passes to your intended beneficiaries.

Lockdown Baby Boom

Given the lack of much else to do, the lockdown has certainly seen its fair share of new arrivals into the world, and whether that means for you a new child, grandchild, niece, nephew or otherwise, who you intend to benefit from your estates may have also changed over the last year. It is always important to keep your Will updated, which can be done via simple Codicil, or a new Will altogether, and the Private Team at JMW can always help you with this.

Couples of Covid

With the 2021 season of unrestricted weddings nearly upon us, a number of weddings have still gone ahead during the pandemic, via Zoom or otherwise. Passing the test of lockdown has also lead to a spree of engagements which will see the weddings industry bounce back for years to come. Importantly, marriage automatically revokes a Will so if you fall into this category, putting a Will in place now should be high up on the post-honeymoon list!
Sadly, the lockdown has also seen an increase in divorce and separation cases, which may make changing your Will even more pressing to ensure your estate passes to the correct people and any shared assets are dealt with accordingly.

Losing a loved one

It is no secret, in fact it is now a daily published statistic, that we have lost a number of loved ones over the last 14 months. For your own Will this could mean one of your beneficiaries are no longer with us, or even a possible trustee or guardian named in your Will has passed away. It may also mean that you have come into inheritance from a parent or other family member that has increased the size of your estate. Whichever one of these relates to you, you should always consider how someone close to you passing away affects your Will and Estate planning requirements.

Next Steps?

One of the above four scenarios is likely to have been experienced in some capacity by almost all of the UK since March 2020. If you want to know whether this affects your current Will, or requires you to do a new one, the Private Client team at JMW offer a free Will review service and are always happy to have an initial free of charge consultation to go through your current circumstances. For a no obligation chat, please visit our website to make an enquiry or give us a call on 0345 241 5305. 

For more information, our latest podcast, JMW Inside Man featuring Alex Streeter can now be view below.

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Alex Streeter is a Solicitor located in Manchesterin our Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning department

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