If your family estate is small and you want to leave everything to them, making your Will can be straight-forward.

If your situation is more complicated or you are worried about the potential attacks on your estate – for example, Marriage after death, generational IHT, caring for disabled relative, protecting your children’s inheritance – you will definitely need to plan more carefully.

Do not be put off or delay – make sure that what you leave behind will go to the people you intended. Remember! It is never too early but often too late!

Have the Conversation!

If you want to avoid family feuds and potentially costly disputes, after you have gone, considering having ‘the conversation’ with your nearest and dearest about your intentions.

It’s your chance to explain what your intentions are, and more importantly why. Helping your family understand now will save lots of issues in the future.

Talking about death is never easy so make the conversation as light hearted as possible whilst still retaining its importance and try to avoid conflicts where possible.

Preparing for ‘the conversation’

1. Decide on what it is you want to achieve

Start by writing a list of your key priorities.

For example

  • Supporting a charity you care about
  • Making sure that your spouse is provided for
  • Looking after a relative with an illness or disability
  • Ensuring your grandchildren get the best education
  • Ensuring your wealth does not end up in the hands of someone else

Once you’ve decided what you want to achieve, it will be much easier to work out how to structure estate and who how they will inherit.

It will also help you explain your thinking to your loved ones.

2. Write a draft structure of your Will

The conversation will be much easier if you have a basic structure of what you want to do drafted out prior to the conversation.

Make sure it is about what you want, rather than what everyone else wants. Remember it is your Will not theirs.

Remember! For your Will to valid there should be no undue influence it must be your wishes.. It is your decision who should receive what.

3. Pick an appropriate time and place

To most of us it seems a bit morbid arranging a get together of loved one’s to talk about your death.

Pick a time when it is appropriate, when some tragedy has happened can be an easy trigger point, and let’s face it there is always something in the news that can help trigger the discussion. You could say “ Oh! That’s so sad it must be terrible for the family, what would happen if that should happened to us, I have not even sorted my Will out, it makes you think doesn’t it. I wouldn’t want you guys to suffer”

This conversation is all about timing and only you know when that is, but the sooner the better.

During the conversation

1. Tell them what you want

This is the time to express what you want and gauge reaction. Ensure you give an explanation to your thinking.

Tell what things you would leave to who and why, it will all so ensure no nasty surprises when that day eventually comes and should ensure there are no feuds.

2. Outline the main structure to your Will

Explain the main points and what this will achieve.

Try and get agreement as you go along

3. Listen to their opinions and suggestions

Your loved one’s will have their ideas and suggestions make sure you listen and deal with any issues now because if you don’t they are sure to resurface after you have gone

In the end it is your decision and so it should be, but the ones you love might point out people and things you have forgotten and have some good suggestions how you might deal with them.

4. Do not stress your Will is not a tablets of stone

You do not need to stress, your Will takes care of now! A lot may change between now and the day it eventually happens and therefore your Will may change several times to take into

account any changes in your circumstances. It is recommended you review your Will on a regular basis

5. Be sensitive

Family relationships can be fragile at the best of times, so when discussing your Will ensure you explain your thoughts in a caring and compassionate way.

Be clear that you are planning to ensure that the people you most care about are being protected and looked after when you are not here.

Now!

1. Review your plan

Review your plan and make any appropriate changes that you feel you need to make remember at this point it may be wise to take some professional advice.

2. Write or update your will

It is probably wise to engage the services of a professional to ensure everything is drafted correctly and valid.

Remember! It is never too soon, often too late

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