The COVID-19 contentious probate curve starts to rise

We received our first COVID-19 claim case this week. Sadly, we don’t suppose it will be the last. With 1 in 4 family members saying they would bring a claim if their inheritance is not as expected, and the number of deaths double the normal levels at this stage in the year, the prediction of a sharp increase is not a difficult one to conclude.

The individual who passed away was an NHS frontline worker. Like many, they had been cohabiting with their partner for years, but, with no will in place, the surviving partner was not entitled to any of their assets on death. We can resolve this, using the provisions of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975, but the consequential delay, upset and cost could all have been avoided if only a will had been arranged in life. It is still the case that almost two thirds of us still don’t have one.

The Corona virus, as we know, is indiscriminate: it doesn’t care that the person it affects has been working to keep others safe; it doesn’t care if the person has loved ones who will miss them; it doesn’t care if the person it kills has made a will or not. And, by the time a person is at those last stages of life, it too late for anything to be done for them, or for their loved ones who are left behind.

Six months ago we would have been hard pressed to get most people to accept that they are mortal – that they will die at some time and that they must get their arrangements in place to avoid the family distress left behind when they don’t. But, as we publish this blog item, most are now more aware of their own mortality than ever before. Yet still, the worries don’t translate into action.

Just stop and think about your own estate. If you’d passed away yesterday, would your money, your home, your business, all your assets go to the person or people you would want them to? What about your children?

IDR Law have been collaborating with a LegalTech company, FRisk (Family Risk Management), to create an online tool that effectively educates anyone about all of  the worries listed above – to give a user a clear indication of what would happen to everything they cared about if they had died yesterday. FRisk then signposts them to where they can get immediate help. FRisk is not a law firm and is free to use through a network of financial and legal professionals. A direct access version is available and costs a maximum of £14.99 – even that is deducted from the cost of any subsequent will!

The FRisk  website, will become available to access within the next 7 days.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought mortality to the forefront of our minds. Some of us may fight to push it to the back, but please, before you do that, for the sake of your loved ones and your own piece of mind, make sure you understand what a death without planning means and ensure your affairs are in order, just in case the worst should happen.

IDR Law is an approachable, boutique firm and the only one in the country dealing solely with inheritance dispute resolution. Whether you’re a law firm, or an individual who feels they would benefit from our expertise, get in touch here, email us at [email protected] or call on 01423 637050.



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