There has been a noticeable increase in millennials writing their Wills during the pandemic and a general proactiveness in settling legal affairs. Before the pandemic, there was a significant percentage of adults without a Will. Yet during these uncertain times, it has become a priority for many.
For a Will to be legally valid in Scotland you must be 12 or over. The document must be printed and typed, and the signing must be witnessed by one independent person who will not benefit from the Will. In July 2020, the UK Government amended the Wills Act of 1837. This introduced video conferencing so that Wills can be safely witnessed, even during the pandemic. Additionally, with paper becoming a thing of the past, millennials are opting for video recorded Wills. However Scotland has yet to pick up on this trend, instead opting for an official paper trail. Should you die without a Will, decisions are taken out of your hands, and your assets Will be divided according to the law.
Why Write a Will?
Writing your Will should not be a last-minute dreaded task, there are many benefits to having that legal security checked off your to-do list. A Will ensures that your wishes are carried out after you are gone. This one document can appoint trusted guardians for children under 16 and pets, ensure that your funeral directions are carried out, you can nominate an executer who will make sure that your possessions and donations are accurately distributed. Additionally, by having a Will, you have reduced some of the stress a passing can caused for your family.
Millennials are getting married later than previous generations, possibly having children later, if at all, and often have multiple jobs during their working lives. Yet 38% of the UK’s small businesses are ran by millennials, and Forbes highlights that 62% have considered starting their own business. marriage, children, businesses; all reasons to have a Will. Those who have not yet settled into marriage and job stability often are put off writing a Will due to their constantly evolving situation. However, it is important to remember that nothing written on your Will is finalised until death. Changes can be made at any time to reflect your wishes, which naturally change throughout the years provided you have the capacity. It is recommended that you review your Will every five years.
Milestones for Reviewing your Will
Buying your first home and any subsequent properties
Currently only a third of millennials own property, with renting becoming a preference. Yet for many, a home is within their five- year plan, and some are currently saving for their mortgage. It is suggested that millennials are awaiting a partner, children, and or pet before they buy the house that homes them. Yet the affordability of the housing market has become a challenge to this generation along with the economic difficulties faced during the pandemic. So, when they do buy their first home, it is a great achievement and a huge milestone moment. This property is now an asset that should be included in your Will.
Starting a business
Starting a business is hard work, and it is an important asset to protect. If you are a sole trader, you can leave your business to your beneficiaries. If you own a limited company, it is your share of the company that you may leave in your Will.
Getting married and Cohabitation
With the sharp decline in marriages, evidently, millennials are not racing down the aisle. Instead, they are dating and getting to know their partner’s personality, living habits, and financial situation before putting a ring on it. These cautiously long dating habits have risen the average marriage to the mid-30s. In Scotland, simply cohabiting in a civil partnership does not legally entitle your partner to inherit. Therefore, by setting up a Will, you can make sure that loved ones are taken care of after you are gone.
Have an online presence (social media etc)
Your social media accounts are often something forgotten when writing up a Will. 94% of the population are online, but very few have a plan for their account after they die. Without specific instruction, your family may have difficulty deleting your accounts, or protecting the rights to your blog.
38% of millennials have taken a more practical approach to family planning, opting out of expansion due to the expense of children. However, if you have children, you want to make sure that they are looked after. For children under 16, it will be a priority and comfort to appoint suitable guardians. You also might want to leave them an inheritance. Having a Will ensures that your wishes are carried out.
Every generation Will argue who loves their pets more. However, millennials are opting for pets over babies, with 57% of millennial households being home to a dog. These surrogate children, we hope, Will live forever. Should our pets outlive us, it is important to have a plan set up for their rehoming.
Separation or Divorce
After a divorce, you may want to remove your ex-partner from the Will before they inherit all your worldly possessions. Scotland sorted that out with the Succession Act 2016. Once you are officially divorced, they are removed from your Will, unless you specify that they must remain. Yet should you have children together, it is important to coordinate.
When you’re ill, it’s an anxious time for both you and your family. Although it is advised to make your Will in good health, we know that things happen, and it can often prompt you to make adjustments.
Wills can be made in the hospital should you have the capacity; facilities are in place by the NHS to give peace of mind to those unable to leave the hospital. However, it is important to take control so that during these uncertain times, you can feel safe knowing that your loved ones and assets are taken care of.
If you have none of the above, you currently do not need a Will.
Watermans can help you with your Will and wishes after you pass. We offer straightforward legal advice and can talk you through your first, last, and any amendments in between to your Will. Contact Watermans for Wills, Power of Attorney and Executry advice.