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Leaving a Legacy and Writing a Will

Generally we do not want to think about our mortality and making our Will. If you haven’t got a Will yet then you make up part of the 67% of the UK adult population without one.

Often the hardest decision to make when considering writing a Will is finding a professional who has the necessary knowledge, expertise and who you can trust to carry out the work for you.

The Society of Will Writers was established in 1994 to offer an independent regulatory framework for Will Writers and Estate Planning Professionals.  The SWW’s ranks now number 1800 members and it is estimated that our members write in excess of 200,000 wills a year.

Our role as a self-regulatory organisation means that the consumer can have confidence in using one of our members, the same way they would a solicitor.  SWW members adhere to a strict code of practice, train on an annual basis, and hold professional indemnity insurance as mandatory requirements.

Once you’ve made steps towards using a regulated professional you need to decide how you would like to distribute your estate.

Remember that your Will must be a paper document with a ‘wet’ signature.  It must be witnessed and signed properly to be a valid document.  Proper and careful thought should be given to the distribution of your estate.

With evermore complex family situations it is important to have a clear idea about how you would like to distribute your personal effects. It is not always as simple as leaving a gift to a relative.  There may be squabbles after you have passed and your Will should be clear as possible to avoid any ambiguity.   A professional will help you set this out in paper.

If you work with a professional to have your Will drafted they will make the process as simple as possible and it is their job to help you plan for the future. Will Writers or Estate Planning Consultants are experts when it comes to succession law. This is a field in which they are specifically trained and continue to update their technical knowledge.  They will help you with all the possible factors you may need to think about when considering the distribution of your estate.  This will include the appointment of guardians, executors and trustees. They will advise you on how to effectively provide for your family and they will give advice on how to mitigate your tax liability.  A Will writer can help you set up a trust fund to provide for your children, grandchildren, make provision for your pets, or to leave money to a charity or good cause.

As a lay person (someone who is not adept in Will writing) you are not expected to understand the changes in legislation and the effects that they can have on your estate.  In the last year alone we have seen changes to the laws of intestacy, which define where your estate will pass if you were to die without a Will or if a gift failed because of an invalid clause in your Will.  There have also been changes to the rules governing the provision of care for the elderly or vulnerable as introduced by the Care Act.  Additionally, August 17th brings about the introduction to a European regulation (Brussels IV) governing cross border succession.  This will have an impact on those that have holiday homes or property in other European jurisdictions.

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