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COVID-19 sparks surge in young people making wills

Sales of online will kits see annual rise of 265% during March 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has sparked a surge in the number of young people downloading online will kits.

As Victoria’s largest provider of downloadable online will kits, a State Trustees spokesperson said a rise in demand was expected as the full impact of the COVID-19 outbreak began to take hold across Australia.

“The combination of a global pandemic and subsequent stay at home measures was bound to result in people seeking non-traditional ways to get their affairs in order,” said Michael Spiegel, State Trustees’ Executive General Manager of Trustee Services. “Consequently, during March we saw a sharp increase in people downloading our online will kits. One aspect we didn’t foresee was the rise in young people seeking to write their wills.”

In March, State Trustees saw the total number of will kits purchased online rise by more than 260% compared to the same period in 2019. The strongest annual rise was in the 65+ age bracket, which saw a sevenfold increase. However, the 18-24 age bracket saw the second-highest annual gain during March, with seven times more will kits purchased online compared to the prior corresponding period.

“While COVID-19 has impacted a wide range of age categories globally, the general consensus is that older people are more likely to die from the illness,” Spiegel said. “Despite this, the coronavirus seems to have highlighted you’re never too young to make a will and get your affairs in order. Many younger people have children and major assets such as houses or small businesses, as well as items of sentimental value. These are all good reasons for making sure your wishes have been clearly laid out in a legal document.”

State Trustees said its online will kits are primarily suitable for people with straightforward financial affairs, providing a simple way to protect your legacy in the event something bad happens. State Trustees recommended consulting will writing professionals to work through more complicated wills and estate planning.

“This has been a challenging time for all Australians, with jobs, social ties and our confidence in what the future holds all being impacted,” Spiegel said. “At the same time, coronavirus has pushed us forward and modern technologies enable us to develop flexible ways to provide people with essential services. We’re currently trialling videoconferencing to provide wills and estate planning services and the response has been very positive.”

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