If I told you that the other day, whilst reaching for the semi-skimmed milk in my local supermarket, I bumped into a professional-looking chap and handed him all my worldly possessions you might think that I had taken leave of my senses.
And yet in the UK it is entirely possible for clear-thinking, careful and intelligent adults to do just this any day of the week.
Giving a stranger control of everything you own (or will come to own) is not as unusual as you would think.
In England and Wales the practice of making a Will is one that requires no qualification. Anyone can set up as a “will writer” and start drafting Wills for someone. How hard can it be? You need some executors, you need to say which family members inherit if you are not around and you need some administration clauses. Google probably has a few hundred examples to choose from. Sign the document and that’s it…job done.
As a contentious probate lawyer dealing with Will disputes and problems with Estates day in day out this is music to my ears.
In fact, the making of a Will is one of the most important things you can do. It literally says what happens with every single thing you possess. It looks after your house, your money, your grandmother’s jewellery, that painting of a horse no-one quite likes but equally no-one wants to get rid of. The lot. Not just what you own now but anything else you come to own or value before your death. In some cases it also says who should look after your children.
If you think about the importance of a Will it is incredible that anyone can write one without being carefully trained and fully insured. Make no mistake about it, a Will that does not do what you want it to do, leaves someone out or, worse, forgets to provide for the people it should, can leave a legacy of hurt and worry that no-one intended.
In fact, although making a “cheap” Will – whether with a Will Writer or via a Will pack or online deal – can seem to save money, in fact it is likely to cost substantially more in legal fees and tax paid from your estate.
There is simply no substitute for a properly made Will, drafted by a qualified professional solicitor who specialises in that area of the law. Someone who can talk you through the range of “what if’s” and advise you about the most tax efficient way of organising your affairs.
Peace of mind is priceless so please, don’t chance it with your Will – instruct an experienced solicitor and make sure that your Will is properly drafted and executed. If you do unfortunately find yourself in the position of having to contest a Will, for whatever reason, then we are equally able to help.
Call us today on 0800 088 6004