In this blog, I would like to differentiate between simple and complex Wills, and perhaps why it is a good idea to have professional advice. That isn’t to say that I will always advise the need for complex (typically more expensive Wills). What I will always do is advocate professional advice and provide this specific to your needs.
A little insight into my work
I saw a client recently who told me that he did not need advice because his estate was straightforward – 2 properties and some savings. His London property was to be left to his daughter, and his home to his partner, and he is not leaving anything to his other two children. If it had been drafted as he thought, his estate would have potentially lost out on the Residential Nil Rate Band (RNRB). Happy to write an article on this if there is interest. The gentleman didn’t know tax was payable, and it would not have been clear cut regarding who was responsible for paying the tax – so his beneficiaries would potentially have to pay the tax. Nor was he aware that his other children might want to claim against his estate and therefore it was important to record his reasons why he was excluding them. Potentially I have also been able to ensure that the RNRB can be claimed, just for the sake of paying £160, I have potentially saved his family £000s when he dies.
Another short example
I have had an appointment with a married couple who had families from previous relationships (no children to their marriage). Both shared the view that if something happened to one of them, they would want the other to meet someone else eventually. They were also both keen that their respective shares in their property and their assets should go to their children from previous relationships.
One thing they did not agree on was what sort of estate planning they needed. The partner who brought more into the marriage wanted professional advice and the one whose assets were less did not think it was needed as they had a relatively small estate. What they did not consider was something called sideways disinheritance and the risk that their share could be lost to the survivor’s children should they change their Will after the first death. This was something I was able to explain during my meeting and we were able to put plans in place to help them protect, preserve, and pass on their wealth (no matter how limited or small).
What these examples go to show is that you don’t have to have lots of money or a ‘complicated’ estate to risk losing some of it or it costing tons more in the future. What they do show is how professional advice can protect you from events taking place that you were not aware of and by not knowing, would not have thought about.
My appointments all start with a no-obligation conversation. To write your Will with me cost £160 for a single Will and if complex planning is needed, I will ALWAYS lay out the costs prior to you deciding whether to proceed. The most important thing is that you will be able to make an informed decision.