Why use Estate Planners to write a Will?
Wills and inheritance planning has been around since the ancient Greeks and Romans, and probably goes back further than that. Wanting to leave something to our descendants when we pass is a basic human desire. So for as long as there have been people on the planet we have been making plans for what happens to what we own once we pass.
Laws governing inheritance are some of our oldest. But nowadays, if you die without having a Will in place, what happens to your estate is governed by the Rules of Intestacy. These basically decide that your estate passes to your spouse or if you don’t have one, your children. And if you have no children, it will pass on to your nearest living relative. Which was enough to cover us when we had one marriage and 2.4 children, or simple assets such as one house, car and a bank account. But if you want any control over who inherits what, or want to give gifts (money or otherwise) to anyone outside of your immediate family, or if you just want to reduce your inheritance tax bill then you’ll need Will.
But despite this only 60% of us have Wills, why not? Probably because people think the current laws are sufficient, or they believe they have nothing of value to leave. We cover this in more detail on our Will section or Will FAQs, but the truth is the vast majority of people need a Will to avoid any legal and personal complications when they pass on.
Do it yourself?
Can’t I just write it myself? This is one of the most common questions we get. And yes you’d expect us to say no because we sell estate planning. But we’re not saying you have to use us, but we do believe the vast majority of people should hire a competent estate planner or solicitor to put together their Will.
When can you write it yourself?
For some people with straightforward circumstances, it is possible to write your own Will. The Money Advice Service advises:
‘This is only really a suitable option if your affairs are straightforward. For example, if you’re married or in a civil partnership and have children, and you want to leave everything to the survivor of you on the first death, and your children in, say, equal shares on the second death.’
But they also point out that there are particular ways things have to be written and witnessed to make sure the Will is valid, and that inheritance laws and tax may change after you write your Will, so it is important to seek professional advice to make sure you avoid any pitfalls.
They also advise that you should definitely consider a solicitor if;
- your estate may have to pay Inheritance Tax (currently, you might have to pay if your estate’s value (including property) is more than £325,000)
- you’ve got a complicated family situation, like former partners or estranged children, and you want to be sure that your estate can be divided as you wish
- you want to protect someone’s interests after you’ve gone, like a disabled family member
- you want to talk through the options with an expert, or you need some support you can trust
We go into this in more detail on our post ‘Should I write my own will’ But if any of the above apply to you, or you don’t feel confident in putting together your own then here’s why you should use estate planners to write a Will:
You probably need more than a Will
A Will is only one document you need in your estate plan; everyone should have a Lasting Power Of Attorney (LPA) in case something happens to them which means they’re unable to make decisions for themselves. And with the cost of dying increasing every year, it makes sense to fix the cost of Probate now. Finally, If you want to have more control over who your assets go to and how they’re used, then you can do this using a Trust.
An experienced estate planner will be able to put together a plan which covers all your needs.
Without having a Will and an Estate Plan you and your family risk paying more in the long run on things such as probate, court fees, solicitors and taxes
You’ll save money
Without having a Will and an Estate Plan you and your family risk paying more in the long run on things such as probate, court fees, solicitors and taxes. An experienced estate planner knows how to secure the best possible tax and financial benefits for you and your family.
Paying a flat fee ahead of time will be more straight forward and save costs in the long run.
And you’ll save time
Getting us to handle the complex task of drafting a thorough Will means there is less burden on you. It can be a lot of work to put together a Will so let us do that for you.
We’ve mentioned before that this is a complex process and it changes all the time, new laws come out which affect what happens to your estate. It’s our job to keep informed on these things, so by having our support you’ll be confident that whatever happens your legacy is secure.
We are experienced
As well as our knowledge we can offer impartial experience and objectivity; is it a good idea to leave everything to your dog? Is your 18-year-old child really ready to handle a lump sum or a property? If you leave your house to your children, where would your new spouse live? We’ve seen it all and so can identify potential problems and build your plan to avoid those.
There are no second chances
Your Will and Estate Plan only comes into play once, there are no second chances. Using estate planners means you get it right first time.
And if your circumstances change, like a new marriage in the family or a new grandchild, or your financial circumstances change, then we’ll be here to update your plan accordingly.
We’ll keep your Will safe
Our solicitors will store your Will for you in secure water and fireproof storage. If something happens to your Will, and it is lost or if it is damaged then your Will is void. Keeping it secure with us means that your Will is always safe.
But why use Estate Planners instead of going to a high street solicitor?
Estate Planners specialise in Wills, and as such we’ve helped people in many different circumstances and with differing needs which a solicitor may not have come across before. We will put in place a tried and tested plan whereas a solicitor may be using knowledge which they haven’t implemented before.
If you had a trusted family solicitor, by all means run our advice past them to give yourself peace of mind.
So whats’ next?
If reading all this has made you realise that you would like our help or would like to discuss any points in this post, please feel free to get in touch either by filling in a contact form, sending an email to email@example.com or give us a call on 020 8619 0358 – we’re here to help.