By Ben Mason, CEO of Kinherit
We all know the number one rule when it comes to Wills is to make sure you actually have one. But aside from ‘get on with it’, what else should you know about writing your will?
Here Ben Mason lays out some of his “industry-insider” tips for writing your Will. With proper Will-planning, your family and your business will have the protection you want.
1. In an un-regulated market, make sure your Will-writer is STEP-qualified
The Will industry isn’t regulated, and most Will-writers (including solicitors) don’t have formal Will-writing qualifications. If you want to make sure your whole situation is covered, make sure the individual you are speaking to is a STEP*-qualified specialist (STEP is the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners – the gold-standard qualification body in the Wills & Trusts industry).
2. A Will is not enough! Financial and practical planning are also critical
A Will says what you want to happen, but it gives very little information on how. For example, if the locations of your assets are not written down for your executors, they can simply be missed. And that means your family may be deprived of your money. The good news is that a bit of extra planning can make a huge difference to your family when they try to untangle your affairs. It can speed up probate, with less stress, and avoid your money getting lost along the way.
3. Understand all your options (not just the easy ones)
You might be thinking “It’s easy, I just leave everything to my spouse and kids”. But even if your basic wish is that simple, there are different ways to do this. And a standalone Will is rarely the best solution, as it doesn’t offer the protection of a trust. It is critical your adviser properly explains the full range of options, so you can make an informed decision about what is right for you and your family.
4. Beware of fixed-price probate or other probate offers
As the industry is unregulated, there isn’t a regulator to require Will-writers to be clear about the fees they charge on death. Asking if your Will-writer has added themselves as “professional executor” can catch out those with primarily selfish motives. And be very cautious if offered “fixed-price probate” as it’s usually not what you expect (and is the subject of a public awareness campaign by BEST Foundation.
5. Business owner? You need a Business Will…
It is an extraordinary statistic, that around half the Wills Kinherit has reviewed have been deficient in some way – with 30% containing major red-flag failings. But one of the most prevalent issues is with the Wills of people with their own businesses. Or specifically, people with qualifying business assets which include most private shares. Put simply, if you own a business and want your heirs to claim Business Relief, there must be a Business Clause in your Will. Without it, even if you qualify for the Relief, your heirs won’t be able to claim it.
If you would like to get your Will reviewed, or to have a discussion on your situation, just visit https://www.kinherit.co.uk/avn.
Kinherit is a different type of Will-writer where your interests come first, addressing the range of legal, financial and practical needs. The team combines STEP-qualified expertise with a unique Will-planning platform to give you more control and better protection for your family.
SAVE THE DATE: 2 FEB 23
Ben Mason and Richard Thomson will be speaking on the AVN Accountants Helping Accountants webinar on 2nd February 2023. They’ll share specific advice on how to advise business owners and people with SEIS/EIS investments. They will also explain the value of Trusts for protecting families. Register for this (and all other Accountants Helping Accountants webinars) here.