open navigation close navigation Menu
HRS Thought Leadership

Will Writing: How The Pandemic Has Focused Employees’ Minds On The Need To Be Prepared

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

By Andrew Woolnough, Director, EQ HR Solutions.

Andrew Woolnough Andrew Woolnough Director, EQ HR Solutions

Since the start of the pandemic, it should come as no surprise that there has been a surge in interest in financial services that protect your family should you become ill or pass away.

Many financial advisers report an increase in enquiries about products such as critical illness cover. In addition, many lawyers are busy writing wills, particularly for younger clients.

For example, at Adroit Legal Services, will writing enquiries from the under 50s jumped from just 5% of total requests in November 2019 to 78% by November 2020 – with overall volumes up 600%.

“Prior to the pandemic, our team received very few enquiries from younger people,” said Lisa Lund, director at Adroit Legal Services. “But we have seen a marked increase in both the number of will enquiries and the percentage of enquiries from younger people since September 2020.

“There is increased awareness that death can happen unexpectedly at any age, so there is a need to protect loved ones by creating a will.”

However, despite this, less than half (46%) of UK adults currently have a will, according to insurer Royal London’s ebook How to Die Well.

So, there’s a strong argument for employers to help – with education and access to accredited and reputable will writing and estate planning services – as part of their financial wellbeing programme.

What’s in a will?

As many grieving families have found during the pandemic, dying without a will also makes life much more complicated for all your loved ones.

Apart from a general – and understandable – reluctance to think about death, many people put off writing a will because they don’t think they are wealthy enough to need one. But if you have a child or children under the age of 18 (16 in Scotland), making a will is the easiest way to ensure they are looked after by the people you want to raise them.

As many grieving families have found during the pandemic, dying without a will also makes life much more complicated for all your loved ones, as your estate goes through probate, which can take 12 months or more.

“For those who have lost relatives who had not made wills, the pandemic has opened their eyes to how difficult this makes things, especially for unmarried couples,” said Sarah Steel, director at financial education provider Better With Money.

Where there’s a will there’s a way

When it comes to providing financial education in the workplace, one of the main aims is to boost employees’ peace of mind – thus allowing them to concentrate fully on the task in hand.

Providing information, running webinars and offering one-on-one advice sessions related to will writing is a powerful way to do this, especially at the moment.

According to UK Wills, Trusts and Probate Market 2020 – Consumer Research Report by IRN Research, 67% of the people who have written wills since the onset of COVID-19 felt it gave them “peace of mind”.

There is also merit in educating employees about other aspects of planning for unforeseen circumstances.

“Only 10% of adults in the UK have set up powers of attorney – needed if they become unable to make financial decisions – even though the number of people with them has gone up a lot in the last year or so,” explains Steel.

Companies keen to prioritise financial wellbeing can even go a step further and offer access to a dedicated will writing service.

“At present I only have one client who offers a will writing service,” adds Steel. “But it would be brilliant to see more companies offering these services.”