Funeral Plans

Surge in wills may lead to even more unexpected executors, says Co-op

Co-op Legal Services is urging people putting wills in place amidst the coronavirus pandemic, to speak to their chosen executors, to “avoid confusion” later down the line.

Co-op reported will enquiries surged by over two-thirds (69%) from 23rd March, the day the UK went into lockdown, until the end of June, which the Co-op’s head of wills believes was partially connected to people having more time on their hands whilst abiding to government measures.

However, legal experts at the Co-op are concerned that many of these people may not have had conversations with their chosen executors about the role they expect them to play and are therefore urging people to take this time to have those conversations.

Research conducted by the Co-op since lockdown measures have eased, shows that despite the increase in will enquiries, three quarters (74%) of UK adults still haven’t had conversations with loved ones about their wishes and just under a third weren’t aware of the responsibilities of being an executor (29%).

Highlighting the impact that not having conversations with chosen executors can have, almost a quarter (24%) of UK adults have taken on the role of executor and of those who have, over a quarter (26%) found the role stressful. A sixth (16%) found the experience upsetting and a fifth (21%) had to take time off work to carry out the role.

Also, research stated that of the UK adults who were spoken to about their loved one’s intention to make them executor, over two-thirds (65%) were happy that the conversation took place and a third (33%) said they are clearer on what the role entails.

James Antoniou, head of wills for Co-op, said: “Whilst it’s encouraging that so many people have used the lockdown period to put wills in place, it’s important to ensure the right conversations have taken place with their chosen executors to check they’re happy to take on the role and that they understand the responsibility and what’s expected of them.

“Most UK adults want to depend on friends and family to take up the role of executor, so it’s vital that people understand their options and that the role is properly explained.”

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