3:22 AM 14th October 2020
Will-writing During Covid-19 Lockdown
The Co-op recently reported that demand for Will-writing services rose 69 per cent during lockdown, with a massive 300 per cent increase in demand for divorce enquiries also seen.
Divorce arrangements can have a huge impact on considerations made when drafting the terms of a Will – Natalie Sheldon, Senior Associate at Keebles LPP,
has offered advice during the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.
Natalie specialises in advising on a wide range of estate planning matters including preparation of Wills, administration of deceased estates, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Tax planning and Trusts.
She said: “It’s important to consider that any divorce arrangements can directly impact the terms of your Will.
“Once a Decree Absolute has been issued, anything that you have gifted to your ex-spouse in your Will would be dealt with as though they had died on the date that your marriage legally ended.
“Consequently, whatever your ex-spouse was set to inherit would then be passed on to the next beneficiary who is then entitled to it, in line with the terms of the Will. If your Will named your ex-spouse as Executor, this will also be revoked after a Decree Absolute has been issued.
“However, if your Will named more than one Executor, then the other Executor(s) named will still be able to act, but if your Will only names your ex-spouse as Executor, then an alternative will be appointed by the court, which will normally be a friend or family member.”
Natalie also offered advice when it comes to Wills for individuals who have separated from their spouse but are still legally married.
She said: “If you separate from your spouse but you are still legally married, then your Will remains valid and your spouse will be entitled to inherit as set out in the Will, making it all the more important to make a Will as soon as you have separated as a divorce will take some time to go through the courts. If you were to die in the meantime, your spouse would still benefit via the terms of the Will.
Natalie also set out the situation for those in the process of getting a divorce.
“If you are in the process of getting a divorce, or if you are divorced and you’re planning to remarry, then it’s important to understand what impact this will have on your existing Will."
“It may need to be updated to ensure that your wishes are consistent with the law and clear about how you want your estate to be distributed.”