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    • margaretclare
    • By margaretclare 21st Jul 07, 12:00 PM
    • 10,231 Posts
    • 17,000 Thanks
    margaretclare
    Is that wise? Could get very expensive. Is there nobody in your family /friendship circle you would trust and do it for free if first attorney became unable to do the duties?
    Originally posted by sav4it
    Yes, it's wise, and no, there is no one in our immediate family circle. I discussed it all in a thread headed 'EPA between spouses in the Silver Surfers' forum'. http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.html?t=471485

    I don't want to go over all that ground again, but basically (a) my daughter is 250 miles away, DH's son and daughter are 150 - 200 miles away and (b) things have happened in the family which convince us both that - no, there is no one we could trust 100% who'd do it for free. We prefer to pay a professional and in our experience, that's often quicker and cheaper in the long run. All the people we would have trusted 100% are now dead, and the only people we now trust 100% are each other.

    Margaret
    r ic wisdom funde, r wear ic eald.
    Before I found wisdom, I became old.
  • harryhound
    Thanks Margaret,

    Yes I suppose I should think about Power of Attorney too.
    I might be struck down by a stroke at any time.
    I think Enduring Powers of Attorney are in the process of becoming Lasting Powers of Attorney, though existing EPA's will still be effective.
    My late mother was struck down by a stroke, fortunately not "massive", and I picked up a PA/EPA on a single form from a legal stationer, on my way to the hospital - which could have been cutting it a bit fine.
    In the event I managed to muddle through just as an authorised signatory on her bank account, as using the PoA was difficult. "Saturday staff" have no idea what to do, when offered a PoA.

    Harry

    PS My in-laws have done what you are doing, but in our case my wife and brother in law are named as sort of "long stops" if both husband & wife become incapable.

    The only other observation I would make is that I somewhat simplified my posting above, I did not want to write a book about it: Grandmother appointed absentee daughter, soon to die son and family solicitor as executors/trustees and "Auntie" very nearly got a telegram from the queen. You can imagine the effect of 70's inflation and the need for a solicitor to organise replacement of a dripping tap! To make it simple, what other investments there were rapidly ran down, when charged (say) 750 per year. When it started to look like extracting equity from the house to settle outstanding professional charges; I as one of 3 grandchildren/"remaindermen" managed to substitute myself and a family friend as trustees of the trust that lasted 29 years. I think the 6 great grand children agree that I did the right thing. My message to the younger generation is "honour thy father & mothers relatives" (yes and add at least one zero to any figure from 35 years ago to get present values.)
    PPS
    Here is my favourite executor story:

    Do you remember the days when wills were still kept at Somerset house ?
    Well one day I was climbing the couple of steps, ready to pull open the front door, with its polished brass handle; when it burst open towards me.
    Hurtling through the door came a female looking backwards and speaking to two males. She was self evidently in charge and they could have been her brothers.
    Just before she thudded into me she issued the immortal words: "Would you believe it; the crafty old b a s t a r d .............".
    Last edited by harryhound; 26-07-2007 at 9:03 AM.
    • margaretclare
    • By margaretclare 22nd Jul 07, 8:39 AM
    • 10,231 Posts
    • 17,000 Thanks
    margaretclare
    Hi Harry

    Yes, you definitely do need to do it. It's fast becoming the kind of thing that 'everybody should have', in the same way that everybody should have a will, although many still don't!!

    I have taken on board advice from people here - you must have a second attorney! What happens if both are struck down at the same time, or one gradually becomes ga-ga and the other one is subsequently struck down?

    Our EPAs are written so that they only need come into effect in the event of becoming mentally incapable, and the second one only needs to come into effect if the question of the house being sold arises. It's important to put 'jointly and severally' rather than 'jointly'.

    Margaret
    r ic wisdom funde, r wear ic eald.
    Before I found wisdom, I became old.
    • localhero
    • By localhero 22nd Jul 07, 11:17 PM
    • 812 Posts
    • 660 Thanks
    localhero
    That's the whole point of EPAs. At that point they must be registered, then the appointed attorney acts. Otherwise the Public Guardianship Office has to appoint a receiver, and the process is time consuming, burdensome, expensive and intrusive.

    Most EPAs are delayed in the same way that margaretclare and her hubby's are, but they can be effective immediately if need be.
    • localhero
    • By localhero 23rd Jul 07, 2:28 PM
    • 812 Posts
    • 660 Thanks
    localhero
    Yes that's right sav4it. E stands for enduring, which means it continues after it's been registered. Without an EPA at this point is the real hassle. The point of registration is a few safeguards - the donor and certain other close members must be notified.
  • Willman Rodders
    We can all promote our business but ...
    Hi localhero,

    You will recall I asked you recently why you repeatedly referred to a commercial site in many of your posts, especially if you were advertising your own site as this conflicted with the ethics of this website. Your response was ...

    ... the site !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.co.uk is mine however.

    I am sorry if I have offended you or anybody else, but it is definitely clear that people do require good, clear professional advice that can be trusted. If I am able to point people in the right direction, then I feel that must surely be a good thing.
    Originally posted by localhero
    There are several will writers who help answer questions on this site, myself included. Their fees, like mine, are probably less than yours. And they may have professional indemnity cover - as I do. And professional qualifications, like I do. Then there are the financial advisers, the accountants, solicitors and the lawyers. None of us ever quote our websites, or promote our business; we could do, but we don't because it conflicts with the ethics of the site and the terms by which we make our posts. It states clearly at the top of the site ... 'Don't post links for personal gain'.

    Your replies have been interesting; I enjoy reading them, but your continued promotion of your own business is beginning to annoy.

    Regards,

    Rod
    • localhero
    • By localhero 26th Jul 07, 2:14 AM
    • 812 Posts
    • 660 Thanks
    localhero
    Hi Rod,

    I am not here to promote my own business. By referring to the website is allowing access to information (which the public quite clearly do seem to need). This forum is UK wide and since my firm is based in London, that rules me out of 95% of the audience of this site. By making reference to the price the firm charges serves to illustrate how overpriced others are. I at least have the integrity to declare my interest.

    I also advise the forum readers to select a willwriter that is a member of the Insitute of Professional Willwriters to ensure they receive a service from someone that is properly qualified, regulated and insured and who operates a clear pricing structure. Members must undertake an initial period of study in order to pass the entrance exam and adhere to a strict code of conduct. Thereafter they are required to undertake a continuing programme of Continuing Professional Development and regular Criminal Records Bureau checks and to hold professional Indemnity Insurance of at least £2million. Perhaps you might consider taking the entrance exam yourself and joining?

    Most people are amazed to learn that there is no legal restriction to prevent anyone at all setting up a willwriting practice in the UK. That's someone without any formal training or examinations whatsoever - perhaps even with a criminal record. These bad apples calling themselves willwriters, quite often bring the whole profession into disrepute. Remember National Legal Services? This was a firm that was eventually wound up by the Department of Trade and Industry on the grounds that 'the company was being operated disreputably and contrary to the public interest' The petition alleged also a 'deliberate lack of transparency ...and the involvement of a previously disqualified director.' Unfortunately that leaves 1000's of people unaware of the legality or the whereabouts of their wills.

    Anyone can call themselves a willwriter, for the layman the difference is very hard to recognise. Any deficiencies are unlikely to become apparent during their lifetime, and it's their beneficiaries who will suffer the consequences with little prospect of redress or compensation. It's really about time the government regulated the profession so that the cowboys are eliminated once and for all. I make no apology for alerting the public to select a professional from the IPW for their own security and peace of mind.
    Last edited by localhero; 26-07-2007 at 3:21 AM.
  • Willman Rodders
    Hi Localhero,

    As I posted your advice is helpful and welcomed. I don't personally have any objections to you promoting the Institute of Professional Willwriters as a trade body for will writers (but if you were offering unbiased advice why do you not suggest members of the Society of Will Writers? Their membership is bigger than the IPW, all members carry PI £2m, have demonstrated their skill levels, and undertake Professional Development), and your comments about people needing advice is, in my opinion, correct.

    But I do object to you promoting your own website. Your site carries similar information to many will-writing websites; your fees are cheaper than some, and more expensive than others. Your information on the site is broad, but at times a little scaremongering. And whilst it promotes the advantages of trusts it does not give a balanced view by listing the dangers and risks of including them in your will. Other websites do. Your site is not the answer to all persons. Any whilst you do declare your interest in the membership of the IPW I do not recall reading such a statement about your own website in any of your posts.

    You state in the above post ....

    I am not here to promote my own business. By referring to the website is allowing access to information (which the public quite clearly do seem to need). '

    But this site contains far more information than yours (or my own) website, often with unbiased slants towards achieving a sale. In my opinion you can still give honest, quality, advice without directing people to your site (and contravening this site's rules in the process)

    As for your comment ....

    Members [of IPW] must undertake an initial period of study in order to pass the entrance exam and adhere to a strict code of conduct. Thereafter they are required to undertake a continuing programme of Continuing Professional Development and regular Criminal Records Bureau checks and to hold professional Indemnity Insurance of at least £2million. Perhaps you might consider taking the entrance exam yourself and joining?
    Originally posted by localhero
    I did consider joining the IPW but in the end chose the Society of Will Writers. When I was considering starting my business and was speaking to the IPW I was told because of my professional qualifications and experience I would 'walk the exam' and because they only arrange the exams 6 monthly and the date had just passed I chose the SWW. Incidentally, your website does not give any information about your own professional qualifications; perhaps that is something you can address.

    Regards,

    Rod
    Last edited by Willman Rodders; 26-07-2007 at 8:37 PM. Reason: Correction of quote... with apologies to Localhero and members of IPW for the misquote.
  • harryhound
    Dying Intestate ?
    Under present legislation and tax rules; it would seem sensible for many people to create a discretionary trust in their will (instead of trying to rule from the grave). The executors/trustees & the beneficiaries can then have up to two years to debate, in the view of circumstances then applying, how they want the estate to be devolved. Obviously it could get messy, but careful choice of executors/trustees plus briefing them before you pop your clogs, should take care of that.
    Believe me an inflexible will, containing clauses that are self evidently out of date, can be even more of a headache. So expect a professional will to be an almost annual source of expenditure, as you have to keep checking that it will still do legally and tax wise, what you thought it would, when you signed it.

    So here is my question:
    If you, like the majority of the population don't bother to make a will, you get lumbered with a set of rules that the Government claims represents an average of the wills that those who leave wills make. (By definition this must mean a will that is about 20 years out of date! and there are some administrative problems too that will normally mean getting an (expensive) solicitor involved).
    However can the family, having juggled the rules of who has to act as the administrators, then create a valid "Deed of Variation" (Sometimes called a deed of family arrangement)? This would in effect create a dead person's will after they had died, complete with the latest techniques for minimising taxation?
    Has anyone had experience of sorting out an intestacy, in this way?

    Harry.

    PS For what it is worth, here are my thoughts on the ethics of localhero's postings:
    There are several other people offering (for free) their advice on this forum, with the probable agenda that the rest of us can sign up for their services if we want to.
    I see nothing wrong with a plumber telling us how to replace a tap washer for example and saying "I am a member of the certified institute of plumbing" (or what ever their trades union is called).
    However I would prefer to see the declaration of interest in their published details or in the signature bar at the bottom of their message.
    Invitations to check their private business web site should come as as result of inviting readers to learn more by sending them a Private Message rather than risk being awarded the order of the tin of SPAM, in the next reply.
    PPS Hi localhero, The "Which?" guide points out that if you are the person in line for an eventual "reversionary interest" from the ending of an "interest in possession" trust, you can give away/pass on your interest tax free; perhaps thereby skipping a generation. It then goes on to discuss the the problem of getting half the value of the house out of IHT on the first death. One suggestion is the method you recommend: Leave it to a discretionary trust that then makes a loan to the remaining spouse, so he/she can buy back the dead spouses half, but will later die with a big debt. The second suggestion is to: "Set up an interest in possession trust in your will that does not meet all the conditions necessary for it to qualify as an IPDI trust - get professional advice on how to do this". (Where IPDI stands for Immediate Post Death Interest in possession trust). Localhero do you have the professionalism to explain to the rest of us what "Which?" is trying to suggest with its second option ?

    PPPS Woops beaten by one minute by the previous posting - Perhaps Rod would like to have a go at explaining the second "Which?" option too?
    Last edited by harryhound; 26-07-2007 at 12:44 PM.
    • localhero
    • By localhero 26th Jul 07, 3:14 PM
    • 812 Posts
    • 660 Thanks
    localhero
    Hi Rod

    I don't think I really need to vouch for my will writing credentials, but since you enquire and I have nothing to hide, I shall enlighten you. I have a degree in law. I took my finals (now called the Legal Practice Course) at the College of Law Guildford, achieving a distinction in the private client: Wills, trusts and estate planning elective. Legal experience has been gained working for several law firms. I passed the Institute of Professional Willwriters entrance exam at my first attempt.

    I'm not sure how you didn't notice, but every page of my website displays the IPW logo. I also carry documentation with me to all my appointments of my membership as well as my certificate of Professional Indemnity Insurance. Sadly hardly anyone checks, but if they do they can easily contact the IPW or visit their website to check my credentials.

    I'm not sure who told you you would 'walk the exam'. Nobody at the IPW would that's for sure. Even with my experience and qualifications I had to study hard to achieve the required 70%+ pass mark. Solicitors that have been writing wills for years take the exam in the hope of obtaining the enviably low PII premiums that IPW members receive. Sadly (and quite embarrassingly for them) a lot of them fail the exam. This illustrates my often repeated point, that not all willwriters are the same. Even paying a premium price to a solicitor is no guarantee that the will will be written with the skill and precision required so that it's tailored to the individual circumstances of the client.

    So have no fear my friend - you are not dealing with a cowboy. It's a shame you decided not to take the IPW exam, instead opting for an organisation that doesn't demand any formal qualifications in willwriting. I don't think I need say anymore really.

    I don't wish to hijack the forum (I do occasionally feel the need to correct the erroneous replies/advice given), so I will allow you to exercise your undoubted expertise and answer Harryhound's post first at his suggestion.

    With respect to your comments about my site, all the information there is an indication of what needs to be considered when contemplating making a will. Of course there are pros and cons of every course of action (including trusts) and these are clearly explained to my clients face to face according to their circumstances (and in writing later on). That is why I state quite clearly at the bottom of my homepage, that there is no substitute for face to face professional advice. All of my fees are also clearly outlined so that there are no unpleasant surprises at the end for the client. I would recommend you do likewise, perhaps you would like to explain why you haven't. And what aspect of my site is scaremongering exactly?

    PS you have misquoted me. SWW have been inserted in the brackets which makes the statement factually incorrect. Could you please amend it to IPW (my original posting) and if in the future you do want to quote my words, at least have the integrity to do it accurately.

    Kind regards
    Localhero
    Last edited by localhero; 26-07-2007 at 5:40 PM.
  • Willman Rodders
    My apologies to you and IPW members
    Hi Localhero,

    Firstly Please accept my apologies for my original misquote. Originally I copied your whole post and then realised that the same message could be conveyed with far more clarity with a slight amendment; unfortunately I put in the wrong trade body. Ooops. I have corrected the error. And again, my apologies.

    Thanks for setting out your qualifications. In my original post I was suggesting that you show these on your website (I could not see them anywhere) - I was not asking you to justify your credentials on the MSE site, but was suggesting a possible way of persuading visitors to your website that you were a true professional; I can see how, on reflection, you thought I was asking for them to be displayed here. Having seen your reply though I am even more sure you should show them on the your site; your qualifications must make you stand out from the crowd (of other will writers); from a marketing angle aren't these qualifications one of your unique selling points?


    With regards to your comment

    'I'm not sure who told you you would 'walk the exam'. Nobody at the IPW would that's for sure.'

    I can assure you my original statement was true. I called them to discuss my possible membership and spent a long time chatting to the person (sadly I do not recall their name, and in reality it is unimportant now). Were they talking about some entrance exam? Have standards of entry changed? Was their comment a marketing tactic to get me to join? I don't know; I just wanted to join, and that's what was said. Incidentally, I was not dumbing down the entrance exam, merely answering your statement ... 'Perhaps you might consider taking the entrance exam yourself and joining?' and showing why I decided to use a different trade body.


    With regards to

    'And what aspect of my site is scaremongering exactly?'.

    To give you an example your page relating to protecting property from the traps of long term care. The opening paragraph includes the statement 'In fact statistically women have a 1 in 4 chance of requiring long term care in old age.' The article then goes on to mention other facts, such as 70,000 homes are sold each year to fund long term care, and care costs around 30-40k p.a. must be paid for. As individual statements the facts quoted may be correct.

    It's the combination of these facts that, I feel, is perhaps a little misleading. How many of the 25% of the female population who will go into long-term care will live past the 12th week? How many of those who remain alive will then be forced to sell their property? And of those who do have to sell their house what percentage actually stay in care long enough for their costs to eat into what was their former spouses share (and that you could have protected with a will.) rather than their own share? Your wording implies that 25% of all women will benefit from the trust protection included within their will.

    The phrases you used on your website are quoted by many on-line will writers. It was from your earlier claims (that you were more professional than the average will writer) that I had expected to see a more balanced viewpoint - perhaps an explanation of the risks of including these trust clauses in a will. Hope that explains my comments, and is helpful to you.

    With regard to the fees I quote on my site I would indeed like to quote a full range of fees. My problem is that I have 16 or so introducers scattered across three counties, some very local, some not. Further, a few introducers load my fees when quoting prices to their clients. The fee matrix becomes so complex that no one would understand it. I have tried a number of options; presently I show indication prices for people living locally. But, thanks for your feedback.

    I agree with you that many people are unaware of the credentials of many will writers. Hopefully, the MSE site help increase public awareness. I also enjoy the challenge of finding solutions for the posts, and being reprimanded if I get it wrong and so with that in mind I'll now attempt to answer Harryhounds question.


    Regards,

    Rod
  • Willman Rodders
    Hi Harry,

    You wrote
    The second suggestion [by Which?] is to: "Set up an interest in possession trust in your will that does not meet all the conditions necessary for it to qualify as an IPDI trust - get professional advice on how to do this". (Where IPDI stands for Immediate Post Death Interest in possession trust).



    Reading from the original post and the key words above I wonder if the Which? author is referring to leaving the residue of a deceased person's estate to a surviving spouse or civil partner on flexible life interest trusts?

    On the first death, where estate planning has been put into place, it is quite common for larger estates to use up the deceased person's Nil Rate Band (NRB) allowance either by way of absolute gift to children/non-exempt beneficiaries, or to use a discretionary trust. Localhero explained such a trust in his earlier post.

    For estates still larger than the NRB threshold (presently 300,000) there is the possibility to place the residue (the amount remaining after the absolute gift or the transfer to the discretionary trust mentioned above) into a flexible life interest trust. The benefit is that this residue passes to the surviving spouse or civil partner initially, and is therefore exempt from inheritance tax under the exemption rules. The surviving spouse (or civil partner) has the benefit of all the income. The capital is not available to them however, as this is protected for the ultimate beneficiary of the flexible life interest trust.

    The risk when creating these trusts is that rather than creating a flexible life interest trust the will actually creates an IPDI trust (Immediate Post Death Interest trust).


    The following are definitions copied from the HM Revenue and Customs website
    http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/cto/glossary.htm#i

    Immediate post-death interest (IPDI)
    The Finance Act 2006 defined an immediate post-death interest (IPDI) as one where a person has an interest in possession in settled property
    and all the following apply:
    - the settlement was was effected by will or under an intestacy;
    - the beneficiary became beneficially entitled to the interest in possession on the death of the testator or intestate.

    Further, the site goes on to explain

    An interest in a trust arising on or after 22 March 2006 will be regarded as an interest in possession (and therefore treated for IHT purposes as owned by the person having an interest in possession) if it is one of the following:
    an immediate post-death interest
    a 'disabled persons interest
    a transitional serial interest

    So, if an IPDI is created then the asset is deemed to be owned by the surviving spouse, rather than the beneficiaries of the flexible life interest trust (i.e. the children).

    The difference between an IPDI trust and a flexible life interest trust (FLIT) is that the FLIT must allow the trustees the power to appoint capital to the spouse or issue/children, depending upon circumstances, and (I believe) the power to terminate all or part of the life interest.

    I hope the above is helpful, and perhaps more importantly answers the question correctly.

    Since the introduction of the Finance Act 2006 we have seen a new regime of trusts and taxation coming into force. Many people are unaware of the implications of these new tax rules, and continue to have old wills that could create problems for their executors and/or beneficiaries when they die.


    Regards,

    Rod
  • harryhound
    The figure I have at the back of my mind for long term care is 1/5th of men and 1/3rd of women, but that might have been journalist hyperbole.

    What I do know is that my late mother had a stroke in winter 99/00, and as soon as it was obvious she was going to survive, I learned a new mantra: "Is she self funding" - roughly speaking that translates into "does she own her house and if so get her out of here". This was my introduction to a hidden underworld of "God's Waiting" room, where 300 a week bought a Victorian shared room and 700 bought a room in a hotel with extra wide passageways to take the wheel chairs. It was pretty obvious that money did not buy happiness (but we poms do love a good winge).
    Fortunately, we as a family, managed to put together a care package to keep mum in her own home for her last 4 years, where her damaged brain at least still knew the way to the bathroom (even if it was no longer sure when to go!).
    These were Home Counties prices, the "hotel" was part of a chain and the branch in a "northern former steel town" near my sister, charged half the price for the same facilities.
    • localhero
    • By localhero 27th Jul 07, 3:53 PM
    • 812 Posts
    • 660 Thanks
    localhero
    Hi Rod,

    Thank you for your post(s) and I take on board your comments. To comply with forum rules I shan't quote my website address but I shall be referring to it. Anyone following this thread who wishes to refer to it can click on my name to access my homepage. I am grateful to receive any feedback whatsoever.

    It's not my policy to shout about my credentials (unless of course I'm asked). I think the IPW logo on my website is enough, since membership itself demostrates competency in the profession. In any case I've found that my clients are only really bothered that they are dealing with a competent honest professional - and most know that already because most of my work now comes from referrals. (Do they really care about my grades at A'level/where I got my law degree? - No they don't).

    The statistics I quote on my website about long term care are indeed factual. How many live past 12 weeks after entering a care home? - Who knows - a lot. Fact 70,000 homes are sold each year to pay for long term care. Fact 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men require long term care in old age.

    I don't believe in stating these two facts is scaremongering. If my clients want to minimise their liability to care fees I explain how. If they don't want to I have at least advised them of the risks and done my job - ditto with any course of action.

    Trusts as you and Harryhound appreciate can be very complex (although in many cases they need not be), and as such my website merely explains in layman's language the common types of trust and what they are used for. I tend to steer most of my clients away from the more complex types of trust as I believe in keeping things as simple as possible.

    Of course there's pros and cons to every course of action. There are of course many pros to trusts (IHT & care fees mitagation/certainty) The cons of many trusts are the administrative/taxation burden for the trustees and the obvious requirement that the selection of trustee(s) is made with care. These are therefore explained face to face according to their circumstances and the decision rests with the client to make an informed choice.

    My website therefore guides the reader to consider if any of the scenarios apply to them. They don't want chapter and verse online, the occasional anorak might (in which case they can go to a legal bookshop and write out a big cheque), but most don't in my experience.

    So when I arrive to see clients considering mirror wills (leaving their estates to each other) where there's children from a previous relationship, the idea should be in their minds that an outright gift to surviving spouse may not be the most advisable course of action. I then explain how to avoid a potential scenario and explain the pros and cons of a particular course of action and the client ultimately makes an informed decision (and hopefully the right one).

    You will no doubt recall the post on this forum about the girl treated as a child of the uncle who's now at the mercy of the aunt. (That would have never happened if I wrote uncle's will). He (hopefully would have read my literature and been alerted to this risk before I even got round to his house). This example unfortunately in today's society is very common and ultimately avoidable.

    And how many posts do we see week in week out (In fact you will have seen more since I've only been posting on here for 2 weeks) about surviving spouse, sole owner of the family house worrying about care fees, wondering whether they can give the house away now? I meet widows and widowers all the time in the same situaton who have left it too late or been badly advised about this issue and IHT.

    Like I said, if joe public read the pages of my site, whether they want my services or not they should be asking the right questions of their willwriter and have an indication of a possible course of action that may suit their needs. If it spurs them into action after thinking 'hmm this applies to me' then so much the better.

    My particular bugbear is the issue of unregulated, unqualified, uninsured willwriters doing more harm than good. It's an absolute disgrace that the government reneged on their promise to act. (To regulate the profession.)

    The Institute of Professional Willwriters are currently seeking approval from the OFT for a code of conduct to provide further reassurance to the public of the gold standard of its members. (I am one of 500 members nationwide). This will hopefully be the first step towards the profession becoming properly regulated. This will ultimately compel all willwriters to meet a uniform standard and conversely drive out of business all the cowboys doing more harm than good to the population and to the good name of the minority that provide a thoroughly honest, ethical and professional service. This minority that invest considerable sums of money in continuing professional development to keep up to date with the law and Professional Indemnity Insurance.

    Sadly the law still allows anybody whatsoever to charge for writing wills. Many willwriters have arrived recently from the financial services industry following tighter regulation in that area. Sadly the maxim a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing is very true. I have encountered several myself who've convinced themselves (and sadly many ordinary members of the public) that they are competent. It's only when the client dies (and ultimately too late to correct) when a problem is spotted. Someone selling pensions one week doesn't qualify them to be writing important legal documents the next. Wills need to be written with precision and clarity so that there's no uncertainty or doubt upon death. Public be warned.

    Kind regards
    localhero
    Last edited by localhero; 27-07-2007 at 4:57 PM.
    • samjocky
    • By samjocky 29th Jul 07, 12:09 PM
    • 81 Posts
    • 10 Thanks
    samjocky
    OK, so I have read the information so far, but can any of you help me out regarding a greedy "ex" wife? I am very happy with my OH who has 2 children with his ex-wife. I have 2 children from my ex-husband. Me and the OH are besotted with each other, been together 4 years now and intend to stay that way. I just know that when my OH dies that the ex will demand every greedy penny she can from him "for the children". I am worried that if we set ourselves up as tenants in common, that she can force a sale on the property so that the kids get their money. Is there ANY watertight way we can prevent this happening? We would want all kids involved only to get any money when both of us have departed this planet.
  • RayWolfe
    Isn't it interesting how ALL ex-wives, left with the children, are greedy?
    Just an observation on life.
    • margaretclare
    • By margaretclare 29th Jul 07, 3:48 PM
    • 10,231 Posts
    • 17,000 Thanks
    margaretclare
    So when I arrive to see clients considering mirror wills (leaving their estates to each other) where there's children from a previous relationship, the idea should be in their minds that an outright gift to surviving spouse may not be the most advisable course of action.
    Hi local hero

    We in fact did that following our marriage in 2002. However, the wills are so written that following the death of the second, the remaining estate (if any) is to be divided equally between 5 grandchildren, 3 of mine and 2 of his. We feel that's the fairest way all round. Of course there have been other views expressed on forums like this - one in particular stated that, in the event of her husband's death and her remarriage, she would want 'what she and her husband had built up together' to go only to the children of her first marriage and not to any others. This, to my mind, goes against the spirit of the marriage vow 'all that I am I give to you, all that I have I share with you'.

    Fortunately our estate(s) are way below IHT level at present, and the Footsie will have to do a lot better before our investments reach anything like that level even though we're 'retirement investors'.

    Margaret
    r ic wisdom funde, r wear ic eald.
    Before I found wisdom, I became old.
    • localhero
    • By localhero 30th Jul 07, 1:46 AM
    • 812 Posts
    • 660 Thanks
    localhero
    Hi Margaretclare,

    You have obviously considered the matter carefully and taken advice. You will also undoubtedly keep the matter under review and act accordingly if your combined estate exceeds the nil rate band threshold in the future.

    Everybody's circumstances differ of course, but it's important for people to understand the pros and cons and ultimately make an informed decision.

    Hi Samjocky,

    How you own the property with your OH is not relevant. You don't say whether your OH's ex has remarried or not or whether he's paying her maintenance. I assume his children with her are still under 18.

    Issue no 1, If he's paying her maintenance (for herself) when he dies (presumably leaving her nothing in his will), then the law would allow her to challenge his will as she would be a dependant of his. If he's not paying maintenance then fine. If there was a divorce settlement, then that should (most likely) exclude any future claims (including on his death), likewise if she's since remarried.

    Issue no 2. If he leaves nothing to his children with her (and they are under 18 when he dies) whether he is paying maintenance or not for them, she as their guardian would be entitled to challenge his will on their behalf. The court would consider all the crcumstances, but it's likely they would succeed and obtain a share of his estate for the children.

    If his children with the ex are adults and he leaves them nothing, they could challenge his will, but if they are non-dependant (ie no longer in education etc) they would be less likely to succeed.

    So the real issue for both of you is to consider all of the competing claims and to work out exactly how you will organise things in a sensible way. Definitely speak to a professional and get your wills sorted. That way things won't get messy later.

    Kind regards
    Localhero
  • P1CASO
    Inheritance Tax
    Please can anyone tell me exactly when IHT is due. My motherinlaw died and left money to numerous people but the house remains with her boyfriend until he dies. Is IHT due on the house now or later.
  • EdInvestor
    How much is her estate worth? If under 300k no IHT will be due at all.
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