Although airline travel is considered far safer than taking a journey by car, more and more people are making wills before flying abroad on holiday.

Law firm Gorvins Solicitors has found an increasing number of clients have cited making a plane journey as a trigger for making a will.

Understanding the Motivations Behind Pre-Flight Wills

Clients have even made provision for dying on the flight or abroad, including scattering ashes on a hill with a view of Palma Cathedral or in the holiday town where they have had many happy memories.

It is a trend, says top Will and Probate solicitor, Tasoula Addison, which suggests holidaymakers are even making a Will only to cover what happens if they die on holiday.

“This is a trend which we have seen increase dramatically over recent years. Many people I see say that they have been meaning to make a will for years but have never quite got around to it, and having a foreign holiday booked is a common reason given for why they have finally decided to go ahead.

“There also seems to be a sense of urgency about it – as if there is a genuine fear they won’t be coming home. Clients often leave it until a couple of weeks before going away to come in for an initial meeting, and then need the will turning around very quickly to get it completed.”

She added that some cite a fear of flying as their reason for making the will – whilst others admit there is something illogical in their reasoning, but still want to make provision for their loved ones in the event of something happening.

The current climate of fear and terrorist attacks – although none affecting airliners in recent years – also seems to be triggering the trend.

Guidelines and Considerations for ‘Holiday Wills’

In response to this, Tasoula has now drawn up holiday wills guidelines for anyone who feels the need to plan for the fact they may not get off the plane.

This includes advice about notifying others about where the will is stored, should anyone need to find it, and specific funeral wishes – including those relating to the fact they have died abroad or in a plane crash!

Air Travel Safety Statistics vs. Perceived Risks: The Guidelines for a ‘Holiday Will’:

  1. Plan ahead – a Will takes time to draw up properly so ideally you need to see a solicitor a couple of months before, not weeks or days.
  2. Ensure the Will is executed before going away (i.e., signed and witnessed) – if it is not then it has no effect, even if you have given your instructions to the solicitor.
  3. Tell your executors where your will is kept- both where your copy is, and which solicitors have the original.
  4. If you do have any specific funeral wishes, make sure your executors know what these are. You can put them in your Will, but often a funeral will be arranged by your family before they have even looked at the Will, so it is best if you have also made them aware of your wishes verbally.
  5. Make sure you have nominated beneficiaries for any pensions or life assurance- these nominations are usually made directly with the relevant provider, and are separate to the wishes set out in your Will. Payments of this kind can be very useful for your family as they are often made relatively quickly.
  6. Ensure your financial records are in good order – have a filing system. Some people also keep a spreadsheet setting out all their current assets. This makes things easier to locate if the worst does happen.
  7. Ideally, you should also put Lasting Powers of Attorney in place, to cover the situation where you are still alive but are unable to deal with your own finances (e.g., being in a coma). Your Will does not give your executors any powers whilst you are still alive, so powers of attorney are required to cover this situation.
  8. Have travel insurance! The cost of repatriating a body can be massive, and without travel insurance, your family could be left with a huge bill.

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