Changes to Wills Predicted After COVID-19 Impact
It is likely that many over 55s are going to change their wills, based on a YouGov survey that revealed that many individuals will change their Will several times due to big life events. As the pandemic has affected individuals and families in many ways, including changes to health and income, it is now likely that many wills are likely to be amended.
The YouGov survey was carried out in 2019 and revealed that 44% of over-50s will change their Will a number of times, often due to sudden life changes. Furthermore, it is also being seen that people are thinking differently about how their will is structured and are incorporating a living will element into the document.
What is a Living Will?
A living Will can also be known as a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate), and ADRT (Advance Decision to Refuse Treatment) or an advance directive. It is a legal document which is used to set out your decisions as to the medical treatment you want to refuse in the event that you are unable to communicate them yourself. This would only be put into effect if you were actually physically unable to express your wishes, or if you weren’t of sound mind. Before your living will can be used, two different doctors must agree on your condition and your inability to effectively communicate your wishes. A living will cannot:
- Request anything which is against the law, such as assisted suicide
- Give authority to anyone to make decisions about what medical care you receive
- Allow you to refuse basic care, including food, drink and pain relief
Once you have written your living will, it is important that you have it witnessed by an individual who can confirm that the document reflects your wishes. This witness must be independent, not related to you or be responsible for your healthcare bills, and also they must not have an interest in receiving any of your property after your death. Basically, your witness should not be likely to profit by making any decisions against your best interests. Once your living Will has been correctly witnessed, you will be able to provide a copy to your close family and those that are involved in your care.
Leaving donations to charity in your will
Living donations to charities in your will is something that is now being considered by more people. Gifts in wills make up a significant amount of many charities’ voluntary income. The Independent reported that, in April 2020, over £35m was written into Wills as charitable donations, rising from £4m per month in 2019. To leave a donation to charity, you can leave a residuary gift as a percentage of your estate once any specified gifts have been made to friends and family. You can choose to leave this kind of gift in your Will because its value will be dependent on the value of the estate at any given time rather than a set amount. Additionally, setting it up as a residuary gift provides peace of mind that loved ones will be well looked after first and foremost, but a chosen charity is also a beneficiary.
If you want to make changes to your will after the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, then a specialist wills and probate solicitor will be able to guide you through the process. Our will writing experts at AWH will be able to help you to put all of your affairs in order.
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