Monthly Archives: September 2013

Who IS a Professional Will Writer

Who IS a Professional Will Writer?

It can be hard to tell who is a Professional Will Writer (which is why we check for you.)   There are many “professional associations” which are nothing more than marketing groups disguised as professional bodies.   This is not to say that anyone not on this list is, just a gentle warning that all is not always what it seems with “professional associations.”

Our professional Will Writers are normally drawn from several groups of regulated professional Will Writers:

The biggest professional body dedicated to training and regulating professional Will Writers.

A much smaller body but better know as it has an excellent PR machine!

A very large and international Society: it is not a regulator in any sense of the word, but many accountants, solicitors and Will Writers active in the wider Estate Planning field will be members.  Members are not regulated in the traditional sense, but membership is certainly a good sign.

A Law Commission survey noted that solicitors were not always well placed to write Wills, and conduct sound Legal Planning.   General Practice means dealing with many and varied topics, and there is no requirement for ongoing training in Will Writing and Legal Planning. Indeed,many solicitors have never had any training at all on Will Writing, though one assumes they would never do so! In effect, members self certify that they have spent the necessary time to keep up to date in the fast-changing field of Wills, Powers of Attorney and general Legal Planning.   Some don’t realise it IS ever changing.  The Law Society in response has introduced their Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme.  So if you use a solicitor, you should look out for an individual who has the TEP qualification (is a full member of the Society of Tax and Estate Planners) or is accredited under the Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme.

The biggest issue with solicitors is that they try to get themselves appointed as executors or as joint executors “to help the family.”  This is a sneaky marketing maneuver to put the solicitor in charge when you die.  Joint executorship is worse and more expensive tha just letting the solicitor get on with it: they will charge for the extra time spent dealing with the family executor and checking everything they do.  This is necessary for the solicitor, as their reputation is at risk if it goes wrong.

There are of course cases where it is right to have professional executors, but you should compare their current charges  (at least as a guideline) and any extras they charge before agreeing.  Some charge a percentage “responsibility allowance” which in essence means that they charge nearly 1000 times as much to deal with a bank account with £10,000 in it than one with £10.  Both take the same amount of work.

If you are looking for professional executors, we recommend that you check out The Probate Department Ltd: it is a sister company so you should look at others too before choosing.

Financial Responsibility

Brits stake claim for financial responsibility say L&G

Very interesting report from Legal and General.  If you need advice, we can obviously help you to make a Will, but we also know lots of Financial Advisers who can help with the life insurance aspect.  According to L & Gs Financial Responsibility Report.

– but a third have no provisions in place for after they’re gone, says new Legal & General Life Insurance research

–  30% of respondents said that nothing would make them more financially responsible

65% of Brits describe themselves as either “quite” or “very” financially responsible, yet two thirds of people in the UK (63%) have no will, and nearly a third (29%) have no provisions in place in the event of their death, a new survey from Legal & General Life Insurance has found.

The survey of 2000 consumers across the UK was carried out as part of Legal & General Life Insurance’s Simple Things campaign. The campaign aims to raise awareness about life insurance, highlighting that it isn’t as daunting and complicated to understand as people think.  Simple Things also aims to show families that taking out cover can give them the peace of mind that allows them to enjoy life’s simple pleasures.

Other significant findings of the research include:

  • ·         Brits understand the benefits – over half (57%) of respondents know that the main benefit of having life insurance is to financially protect their families in the event of their death;
  • ·         Will it happen to me? – the L&G research also revealed that suffering a serious illness is the single event most likely to make people more financially  responsible, though only 13% of those surveyed had critical illness cover in place;
  • ·         Come what may – one of the most worrying findings was that 30% of respondents said that nothing would make them more financially responsible;
  • ·         Younger than you think – Brits underestimate the age at which critical illness is likely to strike. 29% of Brits think 61+ is the average age for a critical illness claim and 32% think its 51-60. In reality, L&G Life Insurance research shows that 48 is the average age when people make a critical illness claim

John Hyde, Marketing Director  at Legal & General Life Insurance said:

“These results suggest that many people are falling into the ‘it won’t happen to me’ trap when it comes to planning for the future.  Making sure you have adequate provisions in place both for yourself and your family should the worst happen is a responsibility we all share. The fact that almost a third of people wouldn’t consider becoming more financially responsible is worrying and highlights the need for greater awareness around the importance of life and critical illness cover.”

Hyde continues:

“There needs to be a shift in attitudes towards adequate protection, and this is something that we’re trying to help change  with our Simple Things campaign.  The aim of this campaign is to help the British public to understand that being financially prepared for the future is a vital part of enjoying life to the full every day.”