Wills and probate news compiled by the Probate Bureau
Wills and probate experts in Hertfordshire and Essex, The Probate Bureau, have compiled the latest news, advice and guidance on Wills and Probate from around the world.
More than half of parents in the UK with children under 18 have made no will, a new survey has revealed, writes The Gazette.
The study carried out by Will Aid revealed that 56 per cent of parents have not prepared this paperwork (up from 54 per cent last year).
And there are regional differences, with parents not making wills at:
Peter de Vena Franks, campaign director for Wills Aid, said: "Writing a will is a chance for a parent or parents to leave clear instructions about who they would like to care for their child in the event of a dispute about this."
"Preparing a correctly worded will with a solicitor is the best way to ensure your wishes are carried out."
Robert Peston, Will Aid patron, urged everyone to prepare this vital piece of paperwork.
"Although the act of writing a will can be upsetting, the pain and disruption for your family if you have not written one is likely to be far worse," he said.
"When my late wife Sian Busby and I wrote our wills in our early 40s, we assumed this was boring insurance for an event that would never happen. Only 10 years later, Sian died after a horrible illness, and this fell to me to sort out her affairs."
"Devastated by grief, not really thinking straight, I was so grateful that she had written down what she wanted to do with her money and possessions, and had given clear instructions about what should be done with her ashes."
Writing a will isn't as complicated as it looks, reports www.telegraph.co.uk - but there are a few things to keep in mind. Here's what you need to do.
Writing a will can feel like a daunting task - which might explain why 42 per cent of over-55s don't have one, according to research by Macmillan Cancer Support. But creating a will is one of the most important things you’ll do, ensuring that everything you have working hard for during your life will go to the people most important to you.
“People spend their entire lives working really hard to build their estate so it’s really important that it’s taken care of properly,” says Rob Cope, director of Remember A Charity. “You don’t want to leave it to chance or put it in someone else’s hands. If you don’t get your affairs in order it can also be a real emotional burden to the people you leave behind.”
When writing a will you should always seek professional advice and go to an accredited solicitor who can help you navigate the process “It’s important that you don’t try and do it yourself because you can end up creating more of a mess than if you didn’t have a will at all,” says Cope.
Before you write a will you’ll need to work out the value of your estate, which will include your property, car, personal possessions and money, minus all your debts (including mortgages, loans, overdrafts and credit or extended purchase agreements).
Then you’ll want to think about how you’d like your estate to be distributed. “Think of it a bit like a cake and you’re giving slices to the people who you want to share your estate with,” explains Cope.
While friends and family are always the most important consideration, even a small amount left to your favourite charity or charities can make a massive difference. Legacy donations make up £2.8 billion of charitable donations every year and play a vital role in helping such organisations continue with their work. This donation can be as small or big as you like - even modest amounts can make a huge difference. “If you’ve got a small amount at the end, leave that slice to your favourite charity. It’s very easy,” says Cope.
Whatever your wishes, being transparent with loved ones about what you intend to do is a good idea. “I would always encourage people to have a conversation with their families,” says Cope. “It saves heartache at the end. And if you are leaving money to charities, explain that to your family and tell them you’re really proud of what you want to do.”
Writing a will isn’t just about getting your financial affairs in order, though. “You’ll also need to think about things like who looks after your children if you’re not there,” says Cope. Another important step is to appointed executors - trusted people who will deal with your estate in the event of your death. Ideally, executors should be business-minded family or friends, or they can be professional advisers. Writing a will isn’t just about getting your financial affairs in order, though. “You’ll also need to think about things like who looks after your children if you’re not there,” says Cope. Another important step is to appointed executors - trusted people who will deal with your estate in the event of your death. Ideally, executors should be business-minded family or friends, or they can be professional advisers.
These days, our digital assets are an important consideration, too. We all have increasing amounts of assets stored online, ranging from email and Facebook accounts, passwords for online accounts, to digital music and photos. You can choose to pass these onto family or friends when writing a will.
Once written, most professional advisers will offer to store your will for you, or you can store it with the Probate service, part of Her Majesty's Court Service.
Without an up-to-date will, your assets and possessions may not go to the people who mean the most to you, from friends and family to charities close to your heart. "Writing a will is really straightforward and not very expensive," says Cope. "It costs in the region of £150, you can get it done in an hour, and it could be the most important document you'll ever have."
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