Wills (6)

11 Sep
Written by

This is a warning to those of you who are in a second marriage and where you both have children from the first marriage.

Now let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time Mrs Poor met Mr Rich. They were both widowed. They fell in love and married. Mr Rich and Mrs Poor-Rich had 2 children each from a previous marriage. Mr Rich and Mrs Poor-Rich visit their solicitor to make Wills. Ignoring the advice of their solicitor about putting certain assets into trust on the first death they decide to leave their estates to each other and on the second death to the four children in equal shares.

Unfortunately for Mrs Poor-Rich, Mr Rich dies of a heart attack. Mrs Poor-Rich, who is now very wealthy, visits a different solicitor to change her Will. She leaves her estate (which includes everything she inherited from Mr Rich) to her own 2 children, leaving a legacy to each of her stepchildren.

Mrs Poor-Rich dies and her 2 children are absolutely delighted to inherit her estate after payment of the legacies.

Sadly, after the death of Mrs Poor-Rich, her stepson dies leaving a wife and three young children. Having just lost a husband and father, they receive a letter from the solicitors informing them that they have been left a legacy of £100!

Morally, the actions of Mrs Poor-Rich were inexcusable but legally they were not.

Make sure YOU have the correct Will in place.



11 Sep
Written by

I am often asked to explain the difference between the role of an Executor and that of a Trustee. The role of an Executor is quite different to that of a Trustee and it is important to understand this when considering your Will.

An Executor deals with the winding up of the estate and by that I mean obtaining any grant of representation, settling any liabilities and distributing the estate to the beneficiaries.

However, if there are Trusts in the Will, for example, where there are young children, the assets bequeathed to the children are passed by the Executor to the Trustees to look after for the children until they are of age. 

You can appoint the same people to be you Executors and Trustees or you can appoint different people, if you wish. YOU have the choice.

It goes without saying that they must be people you trust implicitly and certainly people that are expected to outlive you. You should also check that they are willing to take on the role of Executor or Trustee, roles which, at times, can be somewhat onerous.



10 Sep
Written by

As parents you wish to be sure that in the possible (although unlikely) event of you dying before your children reach the age of 18 people you approve of will take care of those children. It may be that you have different views on this subject from your spouse or civil partner but communication here is important so that you reach an agreement which will be in the best interests of the children.

So how do you, as parents, appoint guardians for your children? You can, in a signed and dated document, appoint a guardian or guardians who will be responsible for your children should the worst happen. The appointment need not be in a Will. However, most parents choose to appoint guardians by Will and this is good practice because a Will is less likely to be forgotten about or mislaid after a death than a separate, less formal document.

To avoid difficulties parents should appoint the same guardians and only the appointment in the Will of the second parent to die should take effect. Wills are usually prepared in this way.

If you wish you can appoint guardians subject to conditions. For example, you could appoint someone to be guardian on the condition that that person is under the age of 60 at the death of the survivor of you and have a substitute guardian if the person was over that age.

When you have decided who to appoint it goes without saying that you should consult with them to confirm that they are willing to take on this role.

10 Sep
Written by

When making a Will you may be asked by your Solicitor if you wish to make any provision in you Will for your personal chattels. But do you know what is included in the definition of chattels?

Personal chattels are:

carriages, horses, stable furniture and effects, motor cars and accessories, garden effects, domestic animals, plate, plated articles, linen, china, glass, books, pictures, prints, furniture, jewellery, articles of household or personal use or ornament, musical and scientific instruments and apparatus, wines, liquors and consumable stores. The definition does not include any of these items if they are used for business purposes and in addition does not include money or securities for money. So there you have it. When next discussing chattels you will know what is included.

10 Sep
Written by

In the busy world that you live in it is sometimes difficult to find the time to address certain issues that really do make a difference. In the event of incapacity or death one of what I consider to be the 3 Must Haves is the Will.

You know it makes sense to have a Will. In a Will, you can, for example, provide for your family and friends or charities, appoint people of your choice to deal with everything on your death, appoint guardians for your minor children and record your funeral arrangements.

If you do not have a Will the law lays down who should inherit your estate but do you know who that will be? You may think that you do not need to make a Will because you have no relatives or are too young (in other words you think you are invincible). Well, you are never too young to make a Will (it is not just the preserve of the aged) and if you have no relatives do you not have friends or charities that you would wish to leave your estate to?

When you leave your loved ones behind, to grieve and to adjust to life without you, the least you can do is make sure that your affairs are in order and a Will is part of that order.

10 Sep
Written by

In the busy world that you live in it is sometimes difficult to find the time to address certain issues that really do make a difference. In the event of incapacity or death one of what I consider to be the 3 Must Haves is the Information Log. So you are a tidy person and your Attorneys, if you have a LPA, or your executors, if you have a Will, will be able to find all your papers and important documents. Great, their job will be so much easier.

But what if you are not as tidy as you might be? And let’s face it this is probably the preserve of the aged who may have time on their hands to become tidy.
Just to be quite clear this is nothing to do with having a tidy house.

It is to do with making sure that, in the event of your incapacity or death, those that need to can find all your important documents, for example, bank books, investment certificates, dividend counterfoils etc. And in this digital age, and as you go more paperless, much of the important information you have is held on your computer.

One way to help being tidy is to have an Information Log in which you detail all your assets and liabilities, details of your advisers, passwords, location of important documents etc. The Log can be written out or better still held electronically and amended when there are changes. However, make sure that someone trustworthy has access to the password on your computer or all this hard work will be for nothing!