As we celebrate International Women’s Day, we are pleased to see more women are getting their estate planning affairs in order than ever before.
With female empowerment and gender equality firmly in focus, more women are also recognising that making a Will and getting their Lasting Powers of Attorney in place is incredibly important.
Women now own 36% of small businesses worldwide and women are increasingly the primary earners in households in the UK. Despite these positive changes, until recently, women have often overlooked safeguarding their wealth and assets and protecting their families in the event of their death or incapacity. Wall to wall media coverage of the plight of many caused by the pandemic has also highlighted the confusion, delays and stress it can cause when the right planning isn’t in place and brought these issues into focus for wives, mothers and grandmothers. Reassuringly, the latest market industry analysis suggests there has been a recent rise in the number of women asking professionals to help them make a Will and get their Trust and Lasting Power of Attorney affairs in order too.
WillSuite’s Annual Report 2020 shows that more Wills are now written by women at 51.74% compared to 46.2% of men.
Wills, Probate & Trusts Market Report 2020: Market Trends Report also highlights this growing trend. The Report revealed a market forecast growth at an average of 4% a year from 2020 to 2023. Growth in the Wills, Trusts and Probate market is estimated to have increased by 4.3% in 2020, compared to 2019.
Lasting Powers of Attorney
The report also found that the number of Lasting Powers of Attorney being created continues to increase year-on-year – surpassing 900,000 in 2019.
With the UK population aged over 55 growing and living longer, mature women are more likely to make a Will or change their Wills and there is more demand for Lasting Powers of Attorney and guardianships and other services such as funeral plans and care plans.
However, the pandemic has demonstrated that creating an Lasting Power of Attorney is no longer something to delay until you are older. Younger women are recognising the implications for family members in situations where someone has been hospitalised with COVID-19 and swift decisions need to be made regarding their health. Our recent case study on Health and Welfare Lasting Powers of Attorney explores such situations. Additionally, for women who manage the household’s finances, families are left unable to access finances while they are incapacitated.
For many of us, the pandemic highlights just how fragile life is and more of us are therefore motivated to ensure our family are protected from the complications which arise when someone dies without a Will and “Intestacy Rules” are applied instead. Mothers and stepmothers with blended families, women buying their first property and those with belongings to pass on to someone in particular are all unable to direct their wishes without a Will in place. Young children are also particularly vulnerable where a Will is not in place and their parents die (see our recent article on Appointing a Guardian in your Will for more on this topic).
The latest Reports provide promising evidence that more women are prioritising their estate planning to ensure their wishes are followed. Happy International Women’s Day to all our female clients!