Thursday, August 3, 2017

Making a Will

August is national Make a Will Month.  There are many reasons why you should make a will, but one of the first points to make is that once you are an adult you should make your will.  Here are some reasons why you should make a will:

1.  To have your wishes recorded so they can be respected when the time comes.
2.  It can help reduce inheritance tax on effects left.
3.  You can avoid family conflict by declaring who gets what, families have been torn apart through arguing over this - which is never a good legacy.
4.  It gives you peace of mind.

When you start preparing your will, discuss it with your partner so you can make choices together.  Also you will need to mention it to anyone who you plan on being an executor.  Being an executor brings many responsibilities, it can be more than just helping a friend out.  Make sure you are prepared for all this can entail.

When it comes to making a will, try and get a recommendation for a lawyer.  The recommendation should come from someone who has used a will following a death rather than someone who is still alive.  A lawyer may appear to be very professional and helpful before drawing up a terrible will.

Here are some problems that can come from having a poorly drawn up will:

1.  Family squabbles.
2.  Everyone gets lawyers to contest the will, the lawyers get most (all) of the money.
3.  The people you trusted the most as executors end up being served frivolous lawsuits by naive executors/family members which harm them for years.
4.  The state gets more money than it should.

Point 3 is an important one.  When someone asks you to be an executor where there is a business involved, this is a tremendous responsibility which requires a lot of serious thought.  As probate court is not a criminal court you can be sued without any justification to force you to do what someone else wants.  This process can last for years and can affect job prospects, financial planning etc.

So you have decided to you should have a will.  Make an appointment with that lawyer as soon as you have found a good one, get the ball rolling.  It may be one of the best things you ever do for your family!  You may get hit by a bus tomorrow and not have your estate used in the manner in which you would like.

Of course whilst you do your formal legacy, think about your informal one too.  This is where comes in.  A few minutes spent here could mean the absolute world to someone later.  Like with your will, do not delay it; tomorrow may be too late.  When you have both your formal and informal legacies taken care of you will feel a tremendous relief.

Finally, think about what matters to you.  You do not have to leave a legacy; if you are retired and have some funds, go out there and enjoy yourself - you have earned it.

Peter Barrett

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