So many people find it hard to get around to writing a Will (only 45% of adults have a Will). That inertia may be for any or all of the following reasons or you may have some reasons of your own:
- You think it will be too expensive
- You haven’t the time
- You don’t want to take time off work to do it
- You can’t decide or agree together on what happens to your estate or children
- You don’t want to think about it as it is too difficult or morbid
- You think “it” will never happen to you at your age and you can do a Will later
- You think you will be “tempting fate” if you make a Will
- You don’t know who to choose to write the Will as you aren’t sure you can trust anyone
- You think the family will “get everything anyway”
- You think you haven’t got anything to leave so you don’t need a Will.
So, if you are to stand a chance of getting around to “it”, here are some pointers to help you make “it” happen:
- Choose an environment that makes discussing such personal and delicate issues as easy and comfortable as possible. Most people prefer to be at home as it is their ‘space’ and they have all their documentation to hand. However, some people prefer the formality of an office. Many professionals only offered online appointments during the pandemic, so if you are not familiar with this method, you may need to involve a technology-savvy friend or family member to help. Choose a time that suits you which may be in the evening if you work during the day.
- Choose a provider that doesn’t charge for their appointments by the hour. To take proper and thorough Will instructions takes time and sensitivity. You don’t need to be worrying about how much it is costing you. The provider should furnish you with a quote once what you want and need has been established. It should then be up to you whether or not you proceed. . The first appointment should always be used as a fact-gathering exercise for you and your circumstances.
- Your advice should be bespoke to your circumstances because one size doesn’t fit all. Therefore, your provider, Will-writer or solicitor should know what they are talking about. Just because the company has a glossy brochure doesn’t make it an expert. Just because they are a solicitor doesn’t mean they write many Wills. Think of your GP – they know about many aspects of medicine but they aren’t like a consultant who is an expert in their field. Whoever you choose, make sure they hold the appropriate qualifications.
- You should like and trust your provider as you will be talking about really difficult issues and personal information. Your provider should be empathetic and patient. They should be experienced in helping you make decisions on difficult topics, often topics that provoke heated discussion between you and your partner or topics on which you don’t agree or can’t decide. Such situations should be very normal for the provider as it will be a regular occurrence for them; after all, families are families and people are people!
- It is very rare that people DON’T need a Will. “Having nothing” is not usually true and you are just storing up potential problems for your family.
- Not having a Will at your death means your estate will fall according to the Law of Intestacy. This is a very blunt instrument and often leads to issues in our modern world. It is often quoted to me that “my parents didn’t have a Will and everything was fine”. That was then but now people lead more complex lives than ever before. Less people get married or marry several times, many people have children from several marriages or relationships and people definitely own more assets than they used to.
- Even if the Law of Intestacy endeavours to make sure the beneficiaries are who you would choose them to be (although this will not be the case in every instance), it may mean that the person in charge of your estate and your body isn’t the person you would choose it to be. This can be very distressing and contentious for those who you would normally have chosen.
- And finally… regarding superstition. Putting a Will in place has as much effect on whether you get run over by a bus as not having a Will!! But at least it is less problematic for those you leave behind!!
So, with all this considered, do the right thing, give yourself and your family the peace of mind and consideration they deserve and GET ON WITH IT!!!