Hints and Tips

On this page, you'll find all sorts of hints and tips which will help ensure you get the right Will for you.  We'll also update here whenever there's a change in the Law concerning Wills, or Estate Planning.

Top Tips to ensure you choose the best Willwriter

  • Check that your Will-provider has professional indemnity insurance. This insurance will compensate your beneficiaries if a mistake is made in your Will.
  • Ask if you can change your mind without being liable for costs. If you see a Will-provider in your home, the law gives you a 7 day cooling off period.
  • Be wary if the Will-provider tries to persuade you to appoint him or his firm as the executor of your Will. Administering your estate may not be difficult so you can appoint family or friends.
  • Ask to see a price list of ALL the services provided by your Will-provider. You need to understand what the full cost of the service to you could be because the cheapest Will may not be the cheapest solution for you.
  • Ensure, when comparing prices, that the cost includes a second visit to oversee the signing and witnessing of your Will as doing this yourself can lead to disputes from beneficiaries and could invalidate your Will.
  • Find out what happens if things go wrong. A decent Will-provider should provide you with this information without you having to ask for it.

  • Good reasons for having an LPA in place

  • It is now common practice in many banks to freeze joint accounts when one account holder is known to have lost capacity. This can make it very difficult for the other person to care for the incapacitated person and causes extra stress.
  • If you have no LPA in place, and lose mental capacity, your relatives will need to apply to the Court of Protection who will appoint a “Deputy” to make ongoing decisions on your behalf. Applying to be a Deputy can be expensive. A solicitor has to be appointed to apply to the Court and Solicitors working for Court of Protection clients are subject to fixed costs, which are set by the Court. At present the fixed cost for work done when applying for deputyships is £850+VAT, the application fee is £385, once a Deputy has been appointed there is a Deputy Assessment fee of £100 and there are ongoing annual supervision charges relating to the deputyship ranging from £35 per annum to £380 per annum depending on the level of supervision required. Annual Reports must be made to HMRC and the Office of the Public Guardian and there are fees for these too. Medical evidence is also required for first applications and there is usually a fee for this to be produced. All of this would not be necessary if you had an LPA in place.
  • The Court of Protection process can be lengthy. It can take many months before a Deputyship order is made, and in the interim your financial affairs would effectively be frozen, which could cause all sorts of problems, especially if there is a business to run. Any welfare decisions would be taken by your medical team and/or social services, not family members. The Court of Protection will only appoint one Deputy, who may not be the individual you would have chosen.
  • A Lasting Power of Attorney should be seen as wise precaution, just like a Will, as having one in place ensures that your finances will be looked after should you lose capacity, perhaps through a car accident, a stroke or an illness. If you are a sole trader, it's important to have this back up in case of incapacity. We can help you to set an LPA up, draft the forms for you and submit them for registration.
  • It is important that such arrangements are made when you are fit and healthy since the Law states that such arrangements cannot be made after the event, which can leave families with all sorts of practical problems.

  • Choose your Executors carefully - save thousands !

  • Consumers are paying far too much for professional executors, such as solicitors and banks, to sort our their affairs. Appointing the solicitor or bank who drew up your Will as executor may end up costing you many thousands of pounds.
  • We never appoint ourselves as Executors in your Will.
  • Some banks will charge a fee if you ask them to step down as executor so it might be worthwhile changing your Will or adding a Codicil.
  • Depending on your family dynamics, you can choose family members or someone you trust to sort out the probate for you, with a little effort they can complete the form-filling, thereby saving your beneficiaries money. They can always get help from many sources including the Probate Office.
  • In cases where there may be family conflict or your family simply need help with sorting out the estate, we can recommend a fixed fee probate service, if the need arises. We work closely with Kings Court Trust who are a specialist probate and estate administration company. They will provide a clear and straightforward fixed price service with various levels of help provided depending on the wishes of the family..

  • Talking to your family about your Will - Top Tips

    Many people don’t talk to their children about their Will or what will happen after they die so, as a result, when the time comes, the children are left to guess about that person’s intentions and only have the legal terms of the Will to follow. It’s also true that many children are not even sure that their deceased parent wrote a Will, much less know where it is located. Too often, after a parent dies, there can be worry, misunderstanding and even conflict with other family members because the parent did not make their wishes and plans clear.

    To avoid leaving such problems to your children, it’s a good idea to have a family meeting. You may like to mention at the meeting:
  • The legal documents in your estate plan (Your Will, any Lasting Powers of Attorney, Living Will, etc.) and the purpose of each.
  • Where these documents are stored and how your family can access them quickly after your death or disability.
  • Advise your family who you’ve chosen to be your executors and trustees. Tell them about the responsibilities of the executors and trustees and advise your family that they can obtain professional help to sort out the estate, if they choose to, when the time comes.
  • If you wish, tell your family why you made the decisions you did in your estate plan and how your assets will be distributed. It’s especially useful to explain your plans to all if you’ve made unequal distributions, favoured a vulnerable child or omitted someone entirely. Mention any Trusts you’ve created and how you expect your home, business and any special heirlooms to be distributed.
  • Encourage your children to ask any questions they may have so you can explain your reasoning in a calm and measured way, so that everyone feels comfortable with your estate plan and how you arrived at your decisions.
  • You don’t need to mention any figures or values at this point because over time things will have changed and the value of your estate a t death is going to be different from the time you made your Will.
  • It can seem a difficult subject to talk about but doing so can help to avoid conflicts and hurt feelings after you die and it can be a positive opportunity to resolve any family misunderstandings.