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  • estateplanner
    • #2
    • 4th Nov 09, 7:12 AM
    • #2
    • 4th Nov 09, 7:12 AM
    Hello everyone. I've been a 'bystander' on this forum for a very long time, and as a Principal of an IFA, mortgage, insurance and estate planning Firm, I've often laughed, cried, seethed and even shouted at the screen at some of the forums, statements, questions and (on occasion) the blatant ignorance of so called 'expert' advice.

    However the FREE (!) Will issue is serious, and with approx 17,000 Wills chucked out of Court every year for not being valid (including many drawn up by solicitors), my comment / post here is to simply add a word of warning before anyone thinks that a free Will is a good idea.

    If you have already made your Will, did your solicitor or Will Writer (it doesn't have to be drawn up by a solicitor of course) take the time to visit your nominated Executors, Guardians and Attorneys too, in order to properly ensure that they know their duties, roles and legal obligations?

    This one act is where the 'free' service falls down and can end up costing the people left behind with mounting legal bills of thousands of pounds to rectify.

    Was the estate properly 'equalised' to ensure that IHT is minimised or eradicated? Again, a free will provider is unlikely to take the trouble to properly explain that a simple change in the land registry could also potentiall save thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of pounds in IHT for some estates.

    What about the fact that the spousal transfer for IHT exemption is not automatic? The right to obtain the transfer is automatic, but the actual transfer is not Was that explained.

    I could go on.

    If all that is important is a free will and 'blow the consequences', then that's everyone's choice.

    My 'free' advice here is quite simply, make sure your will writer is professional, comprehensive and works (free or otherwise) for you.

    G'bye.
  • cleve
    • #3
    • 4th Nov 09, 1:32 PM
    Wills from Morethan legal services
    • #3
    • 4th Nov 09, 1:32 PM
    I'm interested to hear if anyone has used the will template provided by morethan as part of their legal service add on and if they would recommend it?

    As someone who keeps meaning to get round to making a joint will I thought it might be a good place to start so at least we have a basic will in place rather than nothing at all.
    • yogayogi
    • By yogayogi 4th Nov 09, 1:47 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 17 Thanks
    yogayogi
    • #4
    • 4th Nov 09, 1:47 PM
    • #4
    • 4th Nov 09, 1:47 PM
    Hi,
    a point which may have been made elsewhere but is SO important it is worth repeating is . . . . .

    never never never appoint a solicitor, accountant, bank or other professional as your EXECUTOR. Never.
    Appoint friends or colleagues, even if they have no experience. Your friend or colleague can then instruct a professional to do technical bits as needed, at an agreed fee and under the friend's control..
    What's the difference? As executor, your friend/colleague is in control both of the process and its COSTS.

    Appoint a professional as an executor and you may well see . . .
    1) anything takes months and months to get done: the "client" is dead, so it's great gap-filling work to pick up and put down when you've nothing else to do between everyday work.
    2) as executor, the professional is unanswerable to anyone. He can take as long as he wants, charge as much as he wants, make (and charge for) whatever enquiries he sees fit to, make the family wait and so on and so on.
    3) professional executors charge the estate high to astronomical fees - normally thousands and often a percentage of the estate! The client's not there to complain and didn't appreciate the small print when the professional offered to prepare his will "free".

    Writing a will is too important to save a few quid on. Draft it, get it checked by a pro - and save the real money by leaving your assets to your family NOT your executors!
  • cherrypie47
    • #5
    • 4th Nov 09, 2:29 PM
    • #5
    • 4th Nov 09, 2:29 PM
    OK,
    Today, having seen the 'free wills' heading on Martins email, I contacted a local solicitor on the scheme. I was told that I HAD to make a 'donation' of £75 paid at the time of writing the will, (not a bequest in the will), I said I couldn't afford anything like that - the solicitor at the othere end said - 'goodbye'. No question as to what I might be able to donate. I used a similar service a couple of years ago but you were asked to make a legacy/bequest in your will which was, in my opinion, a better option for me anyway.
    I agree with an earlier post that you should get friends or relatives (but not one you intend to leave anything to), to be your executors.
    • Mary_Hartnell
    • By Mary_Hartnell 5th Nov 09, 11:20 AM
    • 857 Posts
    • 567 Thanks
    Mary_Hartnell
    • #6
    • 5th Nov 09, 11:20 AM
    • #6
    • 5th Nov 09, 11:20 AM
    OK,
    Today, having seen the 'free wills' heading on Martins email, I contacted a local solicitor on the scheme. I was told that I HAD to make a 'donation' of £75 paid at the time of writing the will, (not a bequest in the will), I said I couldn't afford anything like that - the solicitor at the othere end said - 'goodbye'. No question as to what I might be able to donate. I used a similar service a couple of years ago but you were asked to make a legacy/bequest in your will which was, in my opinion, a better option for me anyway.
    I agree with an earlier post that you should get friends or relatives (but not one you intend to leave anything to), to be your executors.
    Originally posted by cherrypie47
    You would have to be some sort of REAL friend to agree to sort out a will for nothing but out of pocket expenses!
    In my opinion you would be mad to do it unless the deceased left more or less nothing and had the foresight to die with everything, including the milk bill, up to date.

    It takes MONTHS of effort to sort out a "normal" estate of a registration, a funeral, a memorial, some savings, investments, a house, car, TV (with automatic tax attached), self assessment tax return, direct debits (including the Council Tax), uncashed cheques, final nursing home fees, untrained idiots working in the financial services industry (especially in India) etc. etc. etc.

    And that is before you get the beneficiaries with their individual opinions on how and when the estate should be administered.

    It is a hair shirt job where you will never satisfy all the people all the time.

    2000 people a day die but as an MP recently pointed out, the system (or rather the 101 different interpretations of the system), gang up to compound the misery.

    Rant over,

    Mary

    PS It also helps of the deceased can arrange their demise for April 6th as that will be only one tax return that needs doing.

    http://www.ftadviser.com/FinancialAdviser/Regulation/Regulators/FSA/News/article/20091022/2500063e-bc9a-11de-8a16-00144f2af8e8/Recently-bereaved-are-not-being-treated-fairly--McFall.jsp
    Last edited by Mary_Hartnell; 05-11-2009 at 11:33 AM.
  • titanic40
    • #7
    • 5th Nov 09, 11:41 AM
    Married or Not - Wills
    • #7
    • 5th Nov 09, 11:41 AM
    My boyfriend and I have been together for 12 yrs. We are both still married to our original spouses - but none of us - spouses included - see the need to divorce, we are all just getting on with our lives with our new partners. Could this cause difficulty if a will ISNT drawn up? My partner is a lot older than me but he thinks as we are together any of his assets will come to me - but isn't his wife his next of kin ? Any ideas or thoughts gratefully received. Thanks, Anita:confused:
  • estateplanner
    • #8
    • 5th Nov 09, 12:27 PM
    • #8
    • 5th Nov 09, 12:27 PM
    The Law regarding 'who gets what' is based on the Intestacy Rules, as follows;

    hdconsultants.net/The%20Will%20Writers%20-%20Intestacy%20Tree%202009.gif

    Hope this helps.
    • Mary_Hartnell
    • By Mary_Hartnell 5th Nov 09, 1:04 PM
    • 857 Posts
    • 567 Thanks
    Mary_Hartnell
    • #9
    • 5th Nov 09, 1:04 PM
    • #9
    • 5th Nov 09, 1:04 PM
    Hi "estateplanner",

    Welcome to MSE. There are sound reasons why "newbies" are not allowed to post links.
    However we do welcome the input from qualified (?) advisors. They are allowed to declare their interest with every posting.
    Please check the forum rules and postings from similar advisers.

    In the mean time (as it is a useful decision tree for the likes of "titanic40") here is your free advert:

    http://www.hdconsultants.net/The%20Will%20Writers%20-%20Intestacy%20Tree%202009.gif
    Last edited by Mary_Hartnell; 05-11-2009 at 1:07 PM.
  • estateplanner
    Thank you Mary-Hartnell

    Re "we do welcome the input from qualified (?) advisors", my position is as follows;

    for the past 17 years I have run my own financial services Firm, and I am FSA authorised, a Member of the Society of Will Writers, a member by diploma of the Chartered Insurance Institute, an IFA, mortgage broker, general insurance adviser, life insurance broker, commercial finance consultant, business protection adviser, Practice Principal, company superviser, estate planner, husband, father and stepdad.

    I'm qualified, experienced, professional, knowledgeable and .. still in business.

    Hope this helps.
    • 66chorisia
    • By 66chorisia 5th Nov 09, 5:14 PM
    • 10 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    66chorisia
    is it possible to avoid probate?
    Is the payable on death bank account used in the USA an option in the U.K.? If a married couple have everything in joint names both having independant access as in a
    joint bank account either to sign can probate be avoided? How the vultures gather after death! what is the best way in England to minimise their feeding frenzy?
  • MickyBlue
    Nothing is ever free
    I just wanted to say that nothing is ever free.

    My uncle recently had a will drawn up by a solicitor for £51 which he was very happy about. However, what the solicitor did was to add him in as an executor which means he potentially stands to inherit £1000's from his estate.

    I am NOT saying that every solicitor does this or that the ones in this scheme do this but just to say always do your research first.

    I say that because I have just done a quick search on ebay and found a discount code for 10% off - item number 220508680748.

    If you find this code useful please can you thank me - as a newbie i'm trying to build up my profile.
  • bunny999
    My boyfriend and I have been together for 12 yrs. We are both still married to our original spouses - but none of us - spouses included - see the need to divorce, we are all just getting on with our lives with our new partners. Could this cause difficulty if a will ISNT drawn up? My partner is a lot older than me but he thinks as we are together any of his assets will come to me - but isn't his wife his next of kin ? Any ideas or thoughts gratefully received. Thanks, Anita:confused:
    Originally posted by titanic40
    If you have anything worth leaving you need to make wills NOW. Couples who live together have no automatic legal rights. If your partner died his legal wife would be his next of kin. She would also have rights to widows benefits and pensions. If you want protect your financial position you need to get divorced and marry your partner.
  • wise fool
    As a Professional Willwriter myself, I have found that fpwpp training specialists ltd to be very useful. They are looking towards regulating the industry, which in my opinion from previous experience is definately the way forward. We have all heard the horror stories of rogue willwriters giving the industry a bad name. Fpwpp provide from what I can see total training solutions backed by Edexel who are a leading training provide... I'm looking forward to working with them to gain a nationally recogised qualification
    Originally posted by devilshaircut007
    Well good luck to you. Before you waste any more money it might be worth reminding yourself that the directors running this outfit were among the directors of the disgraced Estate Protection Services that were struck off by the Law Society.

    The colourful past of these directors even make it onto the first page of the Law Society Gazette:

    http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/aspiring-will-writing-regulator039s-colourful-past-revealed
  • cliveoram
    Get a will!!!
    My boyfriend and I have been together for 12 yrs. We are both still married to our original spouses - but none of us - spouses included - see the need to divorce, we are all just getting on with our lives with our new partners. Could this cause difficulty if a will ISNT drawn up? My partner is a lot older than me but he thinks as we are together any of his assets will come to me - but isn't his wife his next of kin ? Any ideas or thoughts gratefully received. Thanks, Anita:confused:
    Originally posted by titanic40
    Succession Law does not recognise co-habiting or the phrase "common law(husband/wife)". Without a Will the survivor gets NOTHING! and could possibly be thrown out of a house they have helped pay for. DO NOT DELAY go and see a professional Will writer.

    By the way, did you know that solicitors do not have to have to pass an exam on Will writing or even have to study succession Law! Now you know why so many wills drawn up by solicitors cause more problems than they're worth - oH - unless you are the solicitor who then has to sort it out of course!
  • cliveoram
    Joint ownership
    Is the payable on death bank account used in the USA an option in the U.K.? If a married couple have everything in joint names both having independant access as in a
    joint bank account either to sign can probate be avoided? How the vultures gather after death! what is the best way in England to minimise their feeding frenzy?
    Originally posted by 66chorisia
    Joint ownership of anything, (property, bank accounts etc.), under Law is where the WHOLE of the asset is owned by both at the same time. When one dies the survivor(s) still own the whole and so the asset passes outside any Will. I have seen many Wills where someone has put "I leave my share of..." thinking that 50% of the family home or whatever is going to go to the person of their choice. The moment they die they own NOTHING of any "Joint" owned asset and therefore NOTHING is left.
    I could explain how you can deal with this but it would dominate the forum! Get professional advice, (see my other comments)
  • cliveoram
    Executors
    OK,
    Today, having seen the 'free wills' heading on Martins email, I contacted a local solicitor on the scheme. I was told that I HAD to make a 'donation' of £75 paid at the time of writing the will, (not a bequest in the will), I said I couldn't afford anything like that - the solicitor at the othere end said - 'goodbye'. No question as to what I might be able to donate. I used a similar service a couple of years ago but you were asked to make a legacy/bequest in your will which was, in my opinion, a better option for me anyway.
    I agree with an earlier post that you should get friends or relatives (but not one you intend to leave anything to), to be your executors.
    Originally posted by cherrypie47
    I always advise people to make beneficiaries executors for the following reasons: 1) they are normally close family members or friends, 2) they have a vested interest in keeping costs to a minimum. ALL executors are bound by law for as long as they live to act according to Law and are (usually), answerable to the beneficiaries if they do not. Probate is not difficult in the majority of cases and can be dealt with anyone who is over 18
    • spykey_uk
    • By spykey_uk 12th Jan 10, 8:37 AM
    • 347 Posts
    • 1,252 Thanks
    spykey_uk
    There do appear to be a few horror stories in this thread which could have the adverse effect of putting people off from writing a Will. So I thought I’d throw my 2 pennies in: -

    1. If you appoint a professional as your executor they do have a duty to your beneficiaries and your beneficiaries can take them to court to enforce this duty or claim compensation if they have not acted properly. This means that they cannot cause unnecessary delays, rack up the costs or do anything that is not in the beneficiaries’ interests. I would always recommend instructing someone you know as they are more likely to know what you would have wanted, but in the absence of that, a professional will be obliged to act in your estate’s best interests.

    2. If said professional executor is a solicitor, you can also complain to the SRA if they are being unreasonable, which I recommend you do if any of you have this problem (it should not be happening!).

    3. I work for a solicitor’s firm and if we are ever appointed executor (through the client’s choice) we make sure that we explain very carefully to the client what our costs would be if we were to act as executor.

    4. A solicitor cannot “make” themselves executor as part of the terms of drawing up the Will, they have to be chosen by the client and the person signing the Will always has the choice to say no.

    5. If any of the Will Aid solicitors refused to deal with you unless you paid them £75, I would report them to Will Aid. We had many clients who donated any amount from £5-150. It is for charity and the point is that people should donate whatever they want.

    6. Running an estate as an executor does not have to be scary or a lot of work.

    I do agree with some of the posters though, always do your research first and make sure you get recommendations for your solicitor. There are a lot of good ones out there but unfortunately a handful of bad ones give us all a bad name!

    It is so important that you get a Will, especially if you have children, and so few people have one. Please don’t let the horror stories put you off. With the right solicitor, it can be quick, painless and straightforward.
    Mortgage when started (Dec 2013): £157,272.50
    Current mortgage (date): £156,885.56
    Mortgage free day: Dec 2043
  • suepeta
    Hi
    I am about to start phoning round to find a solicitor to draft our wills and I know there's something I need to ask if they are experienced in - but I can't remember what. Can anyone help?
    I'm sure they need to be regulated by the law society but then all qualified solicitors are aren't they? But I'm sure I've read somewhere on here that there is a pertinent question I should ask.
    Many thanks if anyone can point me in the right direction
    • Savvy_Sue
    • By Savvy_Sue 29th Jan 10, 12:35 PM
    • 40,098 Posts
    • 37,464 Thanks
    Savvy_Sue
    If it's a very straightforward will - I leave it all to Fred - then it's not such an issue, but if you want to limit possible Inheritance Tax liabilities, have young children, a house, a partner, or any combination of the above, then getting a STEP qualified solicitor could be worth the extra expense.
    Still knitting!
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