Updated: Nov 12, 2021
The Covid-19 pandemic is a timely reminder of the importance of ensuring your personal finances are in order – and a key component of this is an up-to-date will. And what better time to do this than during National Wills Week from 26 – 30 October.
A will should take into account the current value of your assets, with instructions on how you wish to allocate them, and is particularly important given the impact of Covid-19 on many individuals and families. “Covid-19 is a good example of how unexpected life-changing events can radically alter our personal and financial situations,” says JustMoney Commercial Manager Sarah Nicholson.
“We need to ensure that our affairs are in order, both for those who depend on us, and for our own peace of mind. The pandemic has not only resulted in personal grief, but also loss of jobs and diminished family income. Many property and share-values have plummeted. This means some estates are worth far less than they were pre-Covid-19 and current allocations may be skewed. Your will should be reviewed accordingly.”
Sarah gives the example of a family-owned hotel business. The owner’s wife and two adult children were set to inherit a flourishing enterprise supported by international tourists. One property has now been mothballed and the other is open to local visitors only. Many of the staff have worked for the company for years; retrenching them would deplete the remaining cash. Substantial assets that would have been divided equally and easily between the children are now worth far less.
“Leaving the current will unchanged would lead to accusations of unfairness. This is not the kind of situation you want for your dependants,” says Sarah. “Having a will in place helps you to determine who will receive your possessions when you pass on, and how the distribution of your estate will be managed. The last thing you want is a family fallout with toxic repercussions that will ripple down the generations.”
If you are young with a small estate and relatively few assets, it’s still important to have a will and to review it every five years or when you experience a milestone in your life. Should you not have dependants, a will ensures that your hard-earned assets will benefit the people or causes that you support.