NHS workers treating patients on the coronavirus frontline are believed to be putting their own health at risk.
Health workers could face more risk because they may be exposed to higher doses of the virus.
And an intensive care nurse has said she was told to prepare her Will before she started treating patients.
Here at kinherit we have had an increase in calls from NHS and key workers, asking what steps they can take to protect their loved ones should the worst happen.
Here we address some of the more common concerns:
Do I need a Will?
Our three key pieces of advice are:
- Everyone over the age of 18 should have a Will. If you have young children or those who are dependent on you, then you should name a guardian.
- If you have relatives who are financially dependent on you, such as elderly parents or a partner, you should also address this in your Will.
- If you were no longer here, it should be legally clear what happens to your estate (your net worth).
Without a Will, you cannot guarantee that your loved ones will inherit your home or belongings.
Your spouse or civil partner will not automatically inherit all of your estate.
“Common Law” partners may not receive anything.
And dependent children could be taken into care whilst guardians are appointed.
What should a Will include?
Perhaps one of the most important parts of writing a Will is to name guardians so your children are cared for by people you have chosen.
Without named guardians, the local authority could be put in charge of decisions around the care and finances of your child even if a relative has responsibility for the day to day care
In worst case scenarios, your children could be placed in care.
You can then make a list of your property and assets and consider who you wish to benefit and ensure provision has been made for dependant relatives.
What are my assets?
Assets include items such as money in a bank, property and land, jewellery, cars, shares, a pay-out from an insurance policy and jointly owned assets.
It is helpful to find a way to list and store them so that they can be easily accessed.
According to government figures, the value of unclaimed estates in the UK could run into the billions.
With this in mind, the team at Kinherit has designed an online vault, to store anything from bank to jewellery details.
This system helps make the probate process quicker and cheaper. Users are regularly reminded to update their details.
What makes a Will valid?
It should be in writing and someone should be appointed to carry out the instructions of the Will (Executor).
It must be signed by the person making the will (the Testator), who must be of sound mind, or signed on the testator’s behalf in his or her presence and by his /her direction.
This must be done in the presence of two witnesses who must sign the will in the presence of the Testator.
The witness must be aged 18 or over and be capable of understanding the nature of what they are doing.
They cannot be blind, a beneficiary in the Will, married or a civil partner of the person making the Will.
Can I write my own Will for free?
Yes, you can. As long as you are of sound mind, it is in writing, and done in the presence of two witnesses as described above, it would be valid.
However, you may wish to seek impartial, professional advice to avoid potential pitfalls.
For example, David Bowie left half of his £80 million fortune to his two children – but didn’t name them. Time and money was then spent on adverts urging the singer’s secret love children, should they exist, to come forward.
Who can I trust to write my Will?
Unfortunately, Will-writing is not currently regulated. For this reason, there are many instances where instructions are included which are not legally binding and this can lead to disputes later on.
There are also cases where Wills have been contested for years – leaving the assets untouchable.
We would advise that when choosing a Will-writer, you ask how they will ensure your wishes are carried out and check there are no hefty charges referred to in the small print.
Once I have a Will, do I need to put anything else in place?
You may wish to consider putting an asset protection trust in place. Did you know your own children could lose out on their inheritance if your partner remarried? Or that your child might have to give away half their inheritance if they divorced?
A trust can help protect future generations from such events. It can also help prevent big bills, such as Inheritance Tax.
We are full of admiration for those who work hard to help keep us safe during this outbreak.
If you have any concerns, please call us for a FREE no obligation consultation.
The team at Kinherit has experienced a number of people in recent days who are keen to take out a will – but worrying about having to pay a second time for changes due to upcoming weddings and babies being on the way.
To help out, Kinherit are offering a free re-write on any Will, Trust or Power of Attorney taken out between now and the end of July 2020. The free re-write can be redeemed at any point up until December 2021. It is hoped this will give the scope to reduce worries about cost when people need to be taking out the right planning today.