Why make a Will?

In simple terms, I always think of a Will as a “plan”. It is the way forward when something has gone wrong. It means that you have passed away, your family will be devastated at the loss, but they have the way forward, they cannot bring you back, but they can carry out your wishes.

On a very basic level, it allows you to appoint Executors (the people who will deal with the paperwork side of the estate) and you can include a funeral wish. This gives you the opportunity of appointing whom you consider to be the most appropriate person to deal with the paperwork, someone who isn’t going to make the situation worse, either because they are good at administrative tasks and/or because they aren’t going to inflame the situation with the beneficiaries of the estate (the people receiving the assets).

The Executors can choose to appoint a professional to act on their behalf, so that the solicitor can do whatever they cannot do themselves. The duties on an Executor can be onerous and if not done properly, the Executor can be personally liable, therefore the Executor should consider carefully whether they want some support and professional assistance or not. You can choose to appoint professional Executors, this will mean that your estate should be administered properly and if they make an error, they should have professional indemnity insurance to be able to pay to rectify the error. If you choose to appoint a layperson as Executor, then they have the choice as to how much they want to do themselves and for anything they don’t or can’t do themselves, they can appoint a professional, which provides flexibility.

If the beneficiaries of the estate are in conflict, which happens a lot, then professional Executors have a duty to all the beneficiaries and will not favour any beneficiaries above any others.

I have taken many Will instructions and the thing that most people are concerned about is losing the value of their estate in care home fees, but they aren’t worried about their family members (who are their beneficiaries) falling out. Most people don’t end up in care, but most families that I have met have ill feelings to a greater or lesser extent. My advise, this is what you should worry about far more than care fees.