Here’s why it is so important to make a will this winter

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Last winter saw record numbers of deaths in England and Wales.

The winter of 2017-2018 saw a perfect storm of cold conditions and NHS woes, amounting to 50,100 excess winter deaths in England and Wales. This was the highest amount of deaths since the winter of 1975-76, figures from the Office for National Statistics show.

Energy charity, National Energy Action, have stated care services were left “creaking at the seams” last year, which saw vulnerable people unable to adequately heat their homes. Elderly hospital patients were discharged too early, into homes with no light or heat, said a report author Dr Jamie Leigh Ruse.

In addition to this, a shortage in the NHS of lung specialists is seeing pollution and flu bring a steep rise in lung-related illnesses, which is putting pressure on A&E departments.

NHS gearing up for “toughest ever” winter

This has left NHS trusts up and down the country racing to combat the “toughest ever” winter crisis. The health service has set up emergency measures as the number of A&E patients is surging, almost as much as 30% higher than a year ago in some places.

The NHS is reopening formerly closed wards, bringing in extra GPs, and even offering day-care for their staff’s children in a desperate attempt to avoid being overwhelmed this winter.

Why do I need a will this winter?

Put simply, if the worst was to happen to you or a family member this winter, having an up-to-date will makes it much easier for your family and/or friends to sort everything out when you die. Without an up-to-date will, the process can be more time consuming and also more stressful for your family, at an already stressful time of year.

Writing a will this winter is particularly important if you have children or other family members who depend on you financially.  If you do not have a will, your assets will be shared in a standard way, defined by law. However, no two families are the same and relationships are always a little more complex, so you may want to share everything you own differently to this standard. 

Official guidance from the Government recommends that people review their will every five years and/or after any major life change (such as the birth of a child, a marriage, a divorce). This is to ensure that your wishes are followed correctly once you pass away and the will is not disputed.

How many people do not have a will?

Of those 50,100 excess deaths last winter, it is estimated a staggering 21,000 either did not have a will, or had a will that was out of date or contained blunders. This would have caused massive unnecessary stress to their loved ones, during an already distressing time.

The figures

  • 2 in 3 UK residents don’t have a will – including 42% of over 55s
  • 1.5 million people haven’t updated their will since getting married – making it invalid
  • 1 in 5 (20%) admit to ‘will blunders’ - such as still including an ex-partner
  • Almost 1 in 10 wills have not been updated to take account of children or grandchildren

 

How Percy Hughes & Roberts can help

At Percy Hughes & Roberts Solicitors, we have a team of dedicated wills solicitors who are ready to help you resolve your query or issue relating to Wills and Probate as quickly and effectively as possible. We understand that this time of year can be stressful for many, and we want to take as much stress out of the process of making a will as we can.

If you need assistance with writing a will, making a change to a will, or simply want general advice, our Wirral Wills and Probate solicitors have a wealth of experience.

If you would like to contact one of our expert Wills Wirral solicitors, you can do so by calling the number at the top of this page or by completing the “Get in touch” form on this site.