The bitterness of poor quality
Benjamin Franklin once said, “The bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of low price has faded from memory”. This is also true when it comes to non-professionally prepared wills.
Research has shown that 90% of adults don’t know what happens to their estate if they die without a will in place.
Despite this, over 55% of adults don’t have a will in place. This is like playing Russian roulette with the future of your loved ones.
Research has also shown that 25% of professionally prepared wills are of poor quality.
To debunk these frequently heard myths, below are some basic facts you should follow when composing your final wishes for your loved ones.
I am married/in a civil partnership I don’t need a will do I?
There is a popular misconception that if you are married or in a civil partnership that after your death, your spouse will inherit everything.
This is not the case.
The law states that the surviving spouse receives the first £270,000, the household and personal goods, and half of the rest of the estate.
If there are children, they would receive the other half of the estate equally at the age of 18 (or between the ages of 16 and 18 if they were to marry).
This distribution is potentially unfair on the surviving spouse and also the half share passing to the children is at risk as they inherit at such a young age.
Without a will appointing a guardian for a minor child, family disputes can occur or the local authority can become involved in their care.
I have a ‘common law’ spouse; he/she will inherit my estate won’t he/she?
The simple answer is no. The surviving common-law spouse has no rights under the laws of intestacy.
But wills are simple aren’t they? Anyone can write one.
There is a misconception that wills are simple.
You can understand that, simply typing ‘DIY Wills’ into Google which brings up the results of thousands of will writing firms offering basic wills for £15, free simple will templates, DIY will kit for less than £20 can mean it has to be simple and easy to write your own will.
It is has been highly documented in recent press reports that inheritance disputes have jumped 62% in two years as more people opt to use do-it-yourself will-writing services.
I always advise that anyone can write a will but, because of a lack of knowledge regarding the practical implementation, they may not get the desired outcome. Due to a lack of knowledge, most clients (and some professionals) don't consider the risks that can occur in the future including issues such as care home fees, surviving spouse remarrying and divorcing, or future bankruptcy.
It is a case of ‘you don't know what you don't know'. To protect not just yourself but those impacted requires bespoke professional advice.
What should I do?
Have your will prepared by an experienced specialist solicitor and bear in mind the phrase:
“The bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of low price has faded from memory”.
Contact a member of our Wills and Estate Planning team so that we can explore working together to help you meet your individual goals.