Thursday, 4 December 2014

2014 - Where did that go?

You didn't get around to it – but we forgive you.

What happened to 20142014 – What happened to it? It only feels like a few minutes since it was New Year’s Day and suddenly we are making our resolutions for 2015.

Now we know that the majority of you meant to get around to making your Will last year, and we also know that the majority of you didn't. For those of you who did, thanks for working with us and we hope in a small way that we have added to your peace of mind. For those who didn't, the good news is that it is not too late.

The statistics are sobering – 35 million people (2/3rd of the adult population) don’t have a valid up to date Will. Thousands of people die each week leaving their family’s future to chance. Hundreds of children are left at the mercy of the local authorities because no legal guardian has been appointed to look after them, and each year countless people lose out on inheritances because their loved one didn't take the simple step of writing a Will.

It doesn't cost much, prices start at just £145. It doesn't take too long, an hour of your time will be enough in most cases. It’s not even inconvenient, we will come to you at a time that suits you and your family.

Making a Will is the only way to ensure that your wishes are carried out if the worst happens. It provides security for your family, peace of mind for you and stops the authorities from interfering in your affairs. Deep down we all know that we need to take action.


So make 2015 the year that you finally get around to it – make your will with us call 01778 382723 or e-mail us advice@will-probate.co.uk to book your appointment. www.will-probate.co.uk 

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Gifting The Family Home - The Pitfalls

Gifting the Family Home to Your Children – A Strategy for Disaster.

Family Home‘Give your home to your children and all of your Inheritance Tax and Care Fees problems are


solved’– this is the classic advice given to many people by a mate in the pub. Sadly it is one of the most dangerous pieces of advice that anyone can give, or act on.

There are five major drawbacks to giving away your home to family members:

Loss of Control: If you gift your home to a family member you might have faith that your children will do the right thing for you in later life, but you have no way of being certain. If you need to sell or downsize, you will need their permission and they will act for you. If you need extra income in retirement then giving your family home to your children will stop you from taking equity release. In extreme circumstances, your children could rent out the spare rooms and receive an income, and you couldn’t stop them.

Gift with Reservation of Benefit (GROB): If you give away the family home, but you continue to live in it you fall foul of the GROB rules which means that HMRC will set the transaction aside for Inheritance Tax Purposes, and the Local Authority can set aside the transaction as deliberate deprivation for the purposes of care costs. The only way to get around this rule is for you to pay a full market rent to the new owners (your children), who will then need to declare the income and pay income tax on it. You should note that doing this only resolves this issue, you are still subject to the other 4 drawbacks.

A Child's divorce can mean you lose your assetsDivorce: If one of your children gets divorced, your home is a part of their assets and will form a part of their divorce settlement, in the worst case this could mean that your children have to sell your home or raise a mortgage against it to pay off their ex-spouse.

Bankruptcy: If your child is declared bankrupt, your home is a part of their assets and will be seized and sold by the Trustee in Bankruptcy to settle your child’s debts. This will leave you homeless, forced to move out of the family home, potentially into rented accommodation.
Tax drawbacks
Tax: If you give your home to your children, it crystallises the value of the property for the purposes of Capital Gains Tax. This means that if the children go on to sell the property for a higher value they will pay capital gains tax on the difference. But it is worse than that, because you have fallen foul of the GROB rules (above) the full value of the property is still in your estate for Inheritance Tax purposes which gives the potential for the home to be taxed twice.


In simple terms – don’t do it. There are ways in which the family home can be passed to future generations, but you must always take professional advice. Call 01778 382723 or click www.will-probate.co.uk for help. 

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Are you Dementia friendly?


This October I became a Dementia Champion as part of the Alzheimer Society’s Dementia Friends initiative. This now allows me to run information sessions where you can a learn little more about what it’s like to live with dementia, and you are then encouraged to decide on one action that you will take as a result of your new understanding of dementia. The five key messages are stressed throughout the session:
1. Dementia is not a natural part of ageing.  
Dementia Care2. Dementia is caused by diseases of the brain.
3. It is not just about losing your memory.
4. It is possible to live well with dementia.
5. There’s more to the person than the dementia.
As the head of a company that often deals with people living with varying degrees of dementia, I wanted to find out more and make some kind of commitment to understanding dementia and to take some positive action, and this is exactly what Dementia friends is all about. The Alzheimer Society’s aim is for there “to be a million people with the know-how to help people who are living with dementia feel understood and included in their community”. My personal aim is to pass on the information to as many fellow professional advisors as I can, so that we can all make what we do more dementia friendly.

I am planning to host sessions for groups of interested people on a monthly basis, alternatively  if you would like me to run a group presentation for your organisation please give me a call and we can set something up. The information sessions only last for about an hour, if you would like any further information on the session dates please call 01778 382723, check out the Dementia Friends Session dates on our website www.will-probate.co.uk/dementiafriend or follow on Twitter @Willbroker 

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Local Authorities claim 8 properties a day to pay care costs!

This article originally appeared in the FT Adviser, with thanks to Andy Parker at Cornerstone Wills.

At least eight people a day have a legal charge placed on their property to recoup care costs, according to data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by NFU Mutual.

Research conducted by ICM on behalf of NFU among 2,000 UK adults last month, found that old age care costs were cited by 51 per cent of respondents as a factor they fear could impact future wealth.

Since 2009 local authorities have placed legal charges on more than 15,000 properties, which equates to around eight a day. Since that time, council income from care home residents in England has increased by 18 per cent.
Your home is your biggest asset
8 Properties Per Day go to Pay Care Costs

In some areas people may be forced to sell their house to pay for care, although many councils operate a deferred payment scheme that allows people to keep their home during their lifetime.

From April 2016, some elements of care charges will be capped, potentially reducing overall costs, and all local authorities will also have to offer deferred payment schemes so no-one should be forced to sell their home, but annual interest of around 4 per cent will apply.

My Willbroker Blog Smoke and Mirrors the true cost of care  explores what the new care cost rules will truly mean, and the potential hidden increases in fees.

Any money spent on care fees prior to this date will fall outside the cap, as will the cost of accommodation and food, hotels and any amount spent above the local authority’s ceiling.

In addition, from 2016, local authorities will be obliged to offer access to advice from a regulated independent adviser.

Furthermore, research from the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries claimed just 8 per cent of men and 15 per cent of women will benefit from the £72,000 limit on what people have to pay towards their care.

Sean McCann, chartered financial planner at NFU Mutual, said: “None of us can know whether we’ll need care in later life or how much we’ll have to pay. Even the best financial plan won’t allow you to avoid some costs, but it can help increase how much you leave to your family.

“There is no one-size-fits-all approach, but there are steps that can be taken to protect your savings.

“There is some very straightforward planning that can help, especially around pensions and inheritance tax, although with the constant changes to the rules you need to keep your eye on the ball to make sure you don’t pay more tax than you have to.”

Other factors cited as a fear that could impact future wealth were changes to pensions and tax (41 per cent), reduced income from death of spouse or partner (31 per cent) and poor financial decisions or lack of planning (20 per cent)


In contrast to care home costs, only 11 per cent of people aged between 45 and 64 are as concerned that inheritance tax will affect their family’s wealth.

Planning for later life is under valued by most people but using the right strategies can potentially  save you and your family tens of thousands of pounds.

Find out more at Will-Probate.co.uk, call us on 01778 382723 or find your local TAS Network member today.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Last Week I Became a Dementia Friend.

As a part of my job, I have to do a huge amount of continuing professional development, most of it is very dry and dull involving lots of reading and keeping up to date with case law and legislation. But last week I did some training which was genuinely eye opening -

I became a dementia friend.
Dementia Friends

Dementia is a scare word, most people struggle to find the positives in living with a condition that slowly robs us of our memories. The Alzheimer’s society is spearheading a campaign to help people understand the dementia and the challenges that everyone faces when dealing with it.
There are five key things that you need to know -
  • ·         Dementia is not a natural part of the ageing process.
  • ·         Dementia is caused by diseases of the brain.
  • ·         It is not just about losing your memory.
  • ·         It's possible to live well with it.
  • ·         There is more to the person than the dementia.


When you become a Dementia Friend you learn a little bit more about what it's like to live with dementia and your are enabled to turn your understanding into action in your everyday life - anyone of any age can be a Dementia Friend.

The nature of our business means that we regularly meet clients who are living with dementia so it is important that our staff understand the challenges families face. The dementia friends training, didn't take long but was eye opening it challenged a number of preconceptions and I truly believe it will help me to serve our clients better.

The next step for me is to go on to become a dementia champion, which means more training towards the end of October, This will not only give me a greater understanding of living with dementia, it will enable me to bring other advisors into the circle of dementia friends. Will & Probate Services is committed to providing the best planning services for people living with dementia and I am committed to helping other professionals join the initiative so that they can serve their elder clients properly.

Whatever you do, from helping someone to find the right bus to spreading the word about dementia on social media, or helping with planning for life with dementia every action counts.


You can contact Will & Probate Services on 01778 382723. www.will-probate.co.uk or find out more about the Dementia Friends initiative at www.dementiafriends.org.uk 

Friday, 12 September 2014

What you need to know about - Lasting Power of Attorney

When people become unable to look after their own affairs, they generally want those closest to them to look after their affairs on their behalf. People often assume that this is an automatic right, even if they, for example, have savings or investments in their sole name. But this is not necessarily the case and where no representatives (attorneys) are pre-appointed, your family may have to apply to the Court of Protection for access to your assets. Sometimes the court will appoint a court official instead of a persons’ relatives.

So what is the solution?


A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that lets you (the ‘donor’) appoint people (known as ‘attorneys’) to make decisions on your behalf should you become unable to make your own. There are 2 types of lasting power of attorney

Health and Welfare

Lasting Power of AttorneyThis allows you to choose attorneys to make decisions about things like

*             daily routine
*             medical care
*             moving into a care home
*             life sustaining treatment.

Property & Financial Affairs

This lets you chose attorneys to make decisions about money and property eg;

*             paying bills,
*             running your bank accounts
*             selling your home

This type of lasting power of attorney can be used as soon as it is registered, with the your permission

You may choose to make one type or both. In order to do so they must be over the age of 18 and have mental capacity.


Require more information? No problem, we can provide more detail on the services we offer and our low fixed fees - call Will & Probate Services - 01778 382723. See our dedicated LPA website for more in depth information www.lasting-powers.co.uk 

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Can I Leave My House to My Cat?

On Monday morning I was gently berating one of my suppliers as he still hasn't made his will yet. It turned out to be a timely conversation as he had been arguing with his girlfriend and he asked me the killer question 'Can I leave my house to my cat?' 
The cat that got the house.
The Cat that got the House!


Setting aside the fact that his girlfriend won't inherit anything if he dies because they are unmarried, the scale of the argument had been enough to make giving his house to his cat a serious consideration.

The short answer is no, a Cat is a possession and so is a house, so you can't give them to each other. But like most things in life, if you are prepared to go the extra mile, then it can be done. The trick is to set up a trust for the maintenance of the cat during her lifetime, with additional instructions that detail what should happen to any money that is left over when your Cat joins you in the great cat basket in the sky. Maybe you could leave the remainder to the cat's protection league, or perhaps you should remember your partner and let them have what's left.

If you want to make provision for your Cat, your Dog or even your Girlfriend in case you die then give us a call on 01778 382723 or have a look at our website Will & Probate Services . 


Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Intestacy - A Little less complex but you still need a Will

The Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Bill has received Royal Assent and will come into force on 1st October 2014. While this might not sound exciting, there are two particular aspects which potentially could be seen as improving the rules for how an estate is distributed when a spouse dies without a Will (“intestate”).
Don't Leave a problem leave a willUnder current rules if a husband dies without a Will in place leaving no children, his wife would receive the first £450,000 of the estate. She would also receive half of the remainder and personal effects, with the other half passing to members of the husband’s family in a strict pecking order (parents first, then siblings and nieces and nephews). If there are no parents, siblings nieces or nephews alive, only then does the entire estate pass to the surviving spouse. The same rules apply to Civil Partners.
Under the new Bill, where there are no children the entire estate would pass to the surviving wife, which seems a rather more sensible approach.
The other change simplifies the situation where a spouse dies and the couple do have children. Currently, if for example the husband died first, the surviving wife receives the first £250,000 of the estate, personal belongings and a life interest (i.e. the right to income) in half the remainder. Under the new arrangements the surviving wife would receive half of the remainder absolutely instead of just the life interest. The remaining assets are held for the deceased’s children.
While the above changes are welcome, it is important to guard against complacency. Dying intestate still often causes enormous expense and delays, and you should also consider what would happen if you and your spouse or partner both died together.  You may also need to make a Will to appoint Guardians for children under 18, and to protect other assets. Very importantly, unmarried couples are not covered by the new rules, and still receive nothing form their partner’s estate if they die intestate.
So the advice remains the same, if you haven't written a Will you need to get it done today, there is no more important document, and the day you need it is always a day too late if you don't have it.
Call us 01778 382723 or email advice@will-probate.co.uk for more.  

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Scared of Death or Just too scared to talk?

Discussing dying and making end of life plans remain taboo for many people across the UK, according to a recent survey from the Dying Matters Coalition.
The Death ConversationThe poll of 2,000 adults indicates that only 21% of people have discussed their end of life wishes.
Only a third said they had written a will and just 29% had let loved ones know of their funeral wishes.
And 51% of respondents said they had not made their partner aware of their end of life wishes.
The chief executive of the Dying Matters Coalition, Claire Henry, said: "Dying is one of life's few certainties, but many of us appear to be avoiding discussing it or in denial altogether.
Talking more openly about dying and planning ahead is in everyone's interests and once the subject has been broached in a family the taboo soon disappears and the family can do some proper planning.
The planning should always include Wills and Lasting Powers of attorney, but could also include planning for long term care, wealth planning across multiple generations and funeral plans. Often these questions are best answered by a professional which is where Will & Probate Services can help.
We offer impartial advice about all aspect of later life planning and are happy to visit you and your family at home at a time to suit you.

Take the big step and have the ‘Death Conversation’ with your loved ones, then turn to us to put your plans into force – Call us 01778 382723, e-mail advice@will-probate.co.uk or visit our website www.will-probate.co.uk    

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Making a Will - A Clients View

I normally blog my own thoughts, but recently I did Wills for a local writer and her partner. She very kindly wrote about the experience from her perspective - 

Professional Will Advice
Writing a will is a stressful event, just thinking about what is going to happen after you pass away can fill you with dread. In my situation I knew it would not be straight forward as both my partner and I have children from previous relationships and investments from years ago. Once we started to discuss our options the conversation got a little heated as we found that we needed to protect our offspring. I spoke to Nick Ash at Wills & Probate Services for a little advice and assistance, which he was happy to give.

Nick had a very calming effect on the situation and gave us all of our various options and guided us with his wealth of experience. We learnt two things that day, one was that there were at least half a dozen considerations we had not thought about that would have had a huge impact on our final will and testament and two, there are answers to even the most difficult of questions and solutions to what we perceived as tricky dilemmas. Once we understood what we needed to achieve and what variables could potentially be involved, we could see so much more clearly.

The conversation with Nick was invaluable to us and our outcome was a carefully thought out Will that gave us both protection and more importantly, gave us peace of mind that after we have gone, the family can focus on grieving rather than fighting or worrying about our finances.
Lasting Power of AttorneyAfter speaking with Nick about our Wills, we also discussed the importance of care for elderly parents and what the implications are if anything sudden were to happen to any of them, this lead to a conversation about Lasting Powers of Attorney. This is a document that is signed, ensuring that if anything were to happen whereby they became incapacitated, the right person would have the say so with regards to their care, their home and their finances. Nick explained “without this legal document assets could potentially be frozen for months whilst you wait for a Court Decision and care choices can be made by the local authority without them consulting the family.” He went on to show us that the costs involved in applying for the appropriate court order can be ten times the cost of putting in place the Lasting Power of Attorney documents.

The financial implications without a LPA document are massive. You will not be able to pay any of their bills like electricity, water or even food as every time you require funds you will need to apply to the court for permission and this can sometimes take up to six weeks. If your parent requires full time care, again, you won’t be able to access funds to pay for this which can result in families having to find up to £700 per week to fund a care package until the court sees fit to release the funds.


We should all have a Will of some sort and if it is something you keep putting off, like we did, it is not nearly as scary as you think. contact Nick Ash now on 01778 382723 or email advice@will-probate.co.uk or via his website www.will-probate.co.uk 

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Looking After Your Own -

How do you retain responsibility for your adult child with learning difficulties?

Having a child with learning difficulties is one of the biggest challenges that a family can face. Getting the right care, education and support for your son or daughter can often feel like a never ending battle against the authorities. However there is one thing that you can be assured of, as a parent you are empowered to make decisions for your child - it is your parental responsibility.
However big the hurdles you have faced bringing up your son or daughter, the issues that arise when your child reaches 18 can make them seem insignificant. 

At 18 your child is an adult and treated by the law as such he will be responsible for his finances and his care decisions, but may not have the capacity to make those decisions for himself. The question is what should a parent do in these circumstances, your parental authority is at an end but you are unlikely to want decisions about your child’s future made by the social services department of your local authority.

The solution is to apply to be appointed by the courts as a Deputy for your newly adult child. Deputyship will allow you to continue to make all of the important decisions on behalf of your child, with the authority and guidance of the courts.  


An application to the courts to be appointed as a Deputy can be complex, and will take between 4 & 7 months to be granted so it is important to apply before your child gets to 18. If you need any help or advice call Will & Probate Services on 01778 382723, we can talk you through what’s required for your child and we can offer a low cost, fixed fee service to make the application process easier for you and yours. 

You can find out more here - www.deputyship-order.co.uk 

Email any questions you may have advice@will-probate.co.uk  

Please don't forget our charity of the year - Great Ormond Street Hospital - you can find out more about our cause and donate here RIDING FOR JAMIE 

Friday, 7 March 2014

Being 50 - Is it to be feared or celebrated?

This month sees me reach the BIG 50, and for the last six months people have been asking me whether it worries me – so far my standard answer has been ‘Well it is better than the alternative’. In truth however being 50 is bothering me more than I ever thought it could, I have made my Will and my affairs are in order, I even have a pension, but 50 has given me cause to reflect and rebel against my age.

So for my 50th year I have set myself four challenges – all by bicycle.

·         The ride of my life – from the council flat where I was born in Bloxwich, just north of Birmingham to my family home in Market Deeping - 92 miles in one day.

·         Market Deeping To Edinburgh - 330 miles in 3 days at the start of May with stop offs in York and Newcastle.

·         Mont Ventoux – a 60 mile ride up the 2000 metre Giant of Provence, where Chris Froome won a Tour de France stage last year.

·         The Prudential London 100 – in August, 100 miles starting at the Olympic park, through the garden of England finishing on the Mall with 24,000 like minded cyclists.

All of this is very self-indulgent and might even be seen as selfish, but the challenges are for a reason. We are raising money for Jamie Jones and The Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity. Everyone has heard of Great Ormond Street and knows how they help sick children, but you might not have heard of Jamie. Jamie is a two year old patient at Great Ormond Street Hospital. He has an extremely rare condition Spondylocostal Dysotosis which he receives fantastic care for at GOSH.

Jamie's family along with friends, The Deeping Stage and The riding for Jamie team are aiming to raising £50,000 for the hospitals new Post Anaesthetic care unit, which cares for children after operations. So far Jamie’s mum Jemma has raised over £21,000 for this fantastic cause and we want to help her reach her goal.


The challenges kick off with the ride of my life on April 6th, If you can spare a little and help towards the target please visit the just giving fundraising page http://www.justgiving.com/ridingforjamie

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

17½ TIPS FOR WRITING A WILL


1. Choose your executors/trustees wisely
They will be responsible for carrying out your financial wishes when you die, and if you have children they will look after and invest the money until the children are at least 18 years old. So make sure they have a good understanding of financial matters and will handle the money wisely. Couples normally appoint each other when the first of them die, but you do need to consider reserves in case you both die together or when the second of you die.

2. Your children are more important than the money
Would you leave your children with no one to care for them for a day, a week, a month, for ever? No, so choose people that will be their guardians if both parents die before they are 18. For unmarried couples, if the father’s name is not on the birth certificate he might not get guardianship without a Will. As adolescence can be a difficult time for children and guardians, choose people that are young enough to cope with the children growing up. Guardians should live in the UK, as guardians who live abroad can cause problems. Failing to appoint guardians mean Social Services and not family members will make the choice for you.

3. Specific Gifts
Who gets the family heirlooms? What charities are important to you? Do you want to leave any money to friends or more distant family members? Writing a Will is the only way to ensure these wishes are achieved.

4. Who gets the main part of your wealth?
Having decided who gets specific gifts who gets the rest? For couples this is normally the surviving partner, with the children inheriting equally when both parents have died. However your wishes might be different.

5. What happens in a disaster situation?
Parents with young children should consider who will inherit if the whole family were together in an accident. The most popular choices are all brothers and sisters or all nieces and nephews, but it could be the wider family, friends or charities.

6. Do you own a business? Does it have a value when you die?
What happens to a business depends on the company structure. This is a specialist area that needs good advice. Do consider who you want to inherit the business? If you employ people will their livelihood be protected? A well drafted Will can also ensure that valuable tax breaks are not lost.

7. Are you living with a partner and not married?
Your partner is not automatically entitled to anything from your estate.  Without a Will they have to go to court and fight for a share, that might involve suing your children!

8. Your husband / wife will inherit everything automatically
Depending on your family structure and your wealth, husbands and wives do not automatically inherit everything. This can cause serious problems for couples with children by a previous relationship, so a well drafted Will becomes even more important.
  
9. Unmarried couples should consider Inheritance Tax
Failing to consider inheritance tax in a Will can cause serious financial difficulty for the survivor after the first person dies.

10. Protect the value of your home from care fees and remarriage?
Sadly, we hear all too often of cases where the value of a house has been used to pay for residential care fees, leaving nothing for the family. Surviving spouses or partners could change their Will to disinherit your children. Remarriage is one of the most common ways that children lose their inheritance. Correctly drafting your Will can prevent this problem.

11. Are you divorced or about to be divorced?
Until your Decree Absolute you are still married so without a Will your spouse benefits if you die. Divorce does not revoke an existing Will, but a Decree Absolute means that your former spouse will be treated as having predeceased you. However all the other gifts in your Will still operate, including gifts to his or her family that you may no longer wish to make?

12. Do you have a Will and are you about to marry or have a Civil Partnership?
Unless your Will was written in contemplation of your marriage or civil partnership, any existing Will is automatically revoked. As we saw earlier, marriage / remarriage is a very common way for children to lose their inheritance

14. Are you worried about what will happen to your pet?
Treasured family pets can be provided for in your Will. You can appoint carers for them and make a legacy to provide for their needs.

15. Do you own an investment property with friends or relatives?
The wrong type of ownership could result in it passing to your friends or relatives rather than to your spouse or children. Having a Will written acts as a check, and if necessary the situation can be corrected to ensure that your share of the property passes to those that you have chosen.

16. Get your Will professionally drafted
Choose someone you trust to write your Will. Lawyers earn more from a badly drafted will than from a good one. For your confidence, each Will we draft has £2,5000,000 of insurance

17. Get your money’s worth from having a Will drafted.
Having had your Will drafted, to make sure it is legally valid it has to be correctly signed and witnessed. Remember that anyone who signs a Will automatically disinherits themselves and their partner, so take care in who you use as a witness.

17½. Look after your Will
Why is this only a half? Because it deals with what to do after you have a Will. Make sure your Will is securely stored and that your executors know where it is, as you will not be here to tell them where to find your Will. Remember it is the signed original that is important, copies have no legal validity.

Need to know more then contact us advice@will-probate.co.uk or visit our website www.will-probate.co.uk

With Thanks to Bob Zwolinsky at Wickham Wills who originally authored this piece.


Wednesday, 22 January 2014

A Letter to Dad

It's not one of mine, but a poignant reminder of the importance of planning - 

Dear Dad,
Your passing was a shock, although I suppose it shouldn't have been, but at 76 years old you were still living at home actively doing all the things you loved to do. You liked to say "I haven't retired, just changed jobs." I think you were almost busier after retiring than before. You always had a list of things you were going to do.
Unsurprisingly, updating your will was on that list, but 40 years is a long time to have had that task waiting to be completed. Death isn't something we really like to talk about or dwell on particularly is it? I read recently that 61% of Britons haven't made a will, one in 10 hasn't told anyone where to find the will they have made and a further 13% haven't updated their will in the past decade. You clearly weren't alone in avoiding the task.
No doubt you would be incredulous to discover that your children have had to apply for legal permission to sort out your affairs. You have been gone almost a year but we are still waiting for permission to be granted. We can't touch any money in your accounts, so we paid for the funeral costs by extending the mortgage. Each month we budget towards paying your council tax as well as our own.
The bedsit attached to your house continues to be rented, which helps, but we can't increase the amount to reflect market rates as it is not our property. While we wait, your property has to be maintained and we also have to pay fees for the work lawyers are doing on our behalf.
You used to say I was one of the sanest and most capable people you knew but this last challenge you have left me is almost doing my head in. You won't have realised that because you and mum were divorced, she couldn't be one of your executors. With Uncle Frank passing away before you, both the people you nominated in your will are unavailable. Although you had told family members that it was to be my job, it must be written down to count legally.

People say that what doesn't break you makes you stronger and maybe the past year has been one of those times. I have thought a lot about life and death and what I value, but I have yet to grieve properly. That will come when all the jobs have been resolved and I can be left alone and not pretend, for the sake of others, that I am strong and coping.
I know my children are also capable individuals but this isn't an experience that they need to have. I'm going to ensure I regularly review my will so that it reflects my current circumstances. I want my children to have space to grieve and move on with their lives. I know you would have wanted this too and updating your will was probably the very next item on your to-do list. I don't blame you – I just feel exhausted from trying to cope.
Respectfully, your eldest, Liz


*article originally appeared in the Guardian 9th June 2012 reproduced with thanks.


Contact us 01778 382723 

or by E-Mail

Thursday, 9 January 2014

It's Your Funeral......

So why not plan it now, save some money and save your family the stress later.

Many of you will be following the tragic storyline of Roy and Hayley on Coronation Street and will have been moved by Roy’s inability to face up to Hayley’s funeral arrangements, it has certainly struck a chord with me.

The situation that the characters find themselves in is unusual, but by no means unique and you don’t have to be terminally ill to make your own funeral arrangements. Often it is just a case of sound financial planning.

Funeral costs have been rising at an average of 7.8%* per year which is way faster than inflation and even way ahead of the return that most of us are getting on our savings. So for many over 50’s the smart thing to do is to pay for your funeral plan today and lock in the cost before it gets too high.

The advantages reach far further than saving money, you can plan your own ceremony, decide on the music, the readings and the tone of the service meaning that you can be sure the funeral will be an appropriate memorial to you. Added to this is the knowledge that you will have saved your family the stress and heartache of putting together a funeral at a time of great sadness. 

Pre paying your funeral can be an excellent tool if you are planning for care costs and looking to protect assets.

It is not necessarily as expensive as you think, you can pay in one instalment or elect to pay monthly.


So be like Hayley and plan your own funeral, as ever we can help so call us on 01778 382723 for more details or to arrange a free no obligation meeting with one of our advisors.

More information at our website www.will-probate.co.uk