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Why Making Your Will Should Never Be A Black Friday Deal27th November 2017 Wills, Trusts & Estate Planning
It seems a little extraordinary that just five years ago, Black Friday was an experience largely unknown in the UK, and yet now we are bombarded with offers that don't just offer a day of hot discount deals, but a season of them. Where once this event was chiefly about cut price flat screen TVs and washing machines, it now seems that just about anything is open for discounting, including a Will.
But as the old saying goes, if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is. Whilst you may think that nabbing a discount code to help you make a Will is a great short term saving, don't be fooled it will be a long-term expense that you should avoid. Instead, you should invest the time in finding a reputable lawyer who can provide you with consummate advice and make a robust Will on your behalf.
As a senior solicitor, I'd like to highlight some issues to be aware of when it comes to dealing with the person you choose to put together or review your Will, so you can ensure you get it right first time;
Your solicitor should ease the transition for loved ones
There is no doubt that a loved one's death is an upsetting time. It is therefore vital that the solicitor with whom you've worked to create your Will is alive to both the sensitivity required to discuss your wishes with your loved ones, and can also ensure that they are protected when you die. Although the former point is realistically about finding a solicitor that you feel comfortable building a rapport with, the latter is making sure that your solicitor is alive to the wealth of opportunities that a Will can offer you and your family as you grow. For example, if you have children, your solicitor should ensure that your Will has appropriate provisions for guardians to look after your children, that a trust is created to make sure they benefit from your estate without the worry of managing it, and that the appropriate trustees are in place to make sure that happens. If your solicitor isn't interrogating your needs and seeking to ensure that the practicalities of the lives of your loved ones are managed whilst they are coping with the emotional fallout of your death, then they are not the solicitor for you.
Is your solicitor making sure that your wealth is best managed?
For the majority of us, the idea of wealth is likely to conjure up fast cars, yachts and designer clothing. However, in legal terms, most of us have some form of private wealth that needs to be appropriately managed in the event of our deaths. For example, if you are a homeowner, whether you own a two-bed terrace in Tynemouth or a five-bed detached home in Hale, you undoubtedly do have an estate that needs to be managed after you die. Regardless of how much wealth you consider yourself to have, your solicitor should be making sure they have a comprehensive understanding of your estate, the wealth it contains and how to make the most of it. That means looking at inheritance tax planning scenarios, what benefits can be secured on yours and your family's behalf and putting you in contact with the relevant independent financial advisors if this is something that you need.
What expertise does your solicitor have?
Perhaps this seems a little obvious, but with so much on the market, one of the best indicators of your solicitor's expertise (and therefore your guarantee that you can trust them to do a good job) is to see what others say about their abilities. There are a number of independent legal directories that undertake comprehensive reviews to rate law firms and solicitors across the country, such as Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500. My department at JMW ranks in both of these, and I'm flattered that I have a personal ranking in the Legal 500. This endorsement means that my clients have more than just my word that I'm able to do a good job for them, they can see that my work is already speaking for itself, and that I will make sure I'll keep living up to the high standards that got me there!
Fundamentally, a Will is your legacy to your loved ones and the passions you've shared in life, so it is absolutely worthwhile investing time and money on it. If you'd like some advice on an existing Will or making a Will from scratch, I'm happy to have a no-obligation discussion with you. You can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0161 828 8307.