Make those last requests your first priority
First published 27 October 2015 • Updated 25 July 2017
Remembering a good cause in your will is one way to ensure you’ll never be forgotten. Find out why it’s worth taking the time to see a professional about writing your will, in this guest article from Remember A Charity.
As a nation, we find it difficult to be open about death and bereavement. Writing a will means acknowledging our mortality, so it’s no surprise many avoid visiting a solicitor or will-writer to discuss their final wishes.
One of the main barriers to seeking professional help is the cost involved, leading some to opt for DIY or online wills. But when we consider the possibility of loved ones dealing with complications after we’re gone, can we afford to overlook this one-off (and relatively modest) cost?
If a will is composed in the absence of informed guidance, is poorly worded or omits important details, this can result in instructions not being followed. In extreme cases, you could end up with a completely invalid document.
Problems can arise if your circumstances change and the will isn’t revisited accordingly. If your wishes aren’t entirely straightforward it’s best to seek advice from a professional, as this is by far the best way to guarantee transparency and accuracy.
The value of expertise
A will is one of the most important documents you will ever write, if not the most important. Yes, you will pay for the professional’s experience and expertise, but the money your family could save as a result may outweigh this one-off fee many times over.
And it’s really not an off-putting cost: the price for single or joint wills is between £100 and £300. For comparison, a typical Homebuyer’s Report when moving house is around £500; virtually no-one skimps on this important document, so the far more important matter of a will looks like exceptional value in this light. Assistance from a professional ensures you are covered if anything goes wrong, so ultimately the risk is minimised.
After looking after family and friends, you may wish to consider leaving charitable gifts to a cause you care about. It’s a myth that only the rich and famous leave money to charity when they die. The reality is that, without gifts left in wills, many of the charities we know and support wouldn’t exist.
Every gift, however large or small, helps to ensure your favourite charity’s work can continue. What’s more, it doesn’t cost anything now to remember a charity in your will.
Remember that there is no inheritance tax (40 per cent) payable on legacies to charity, and if you leave 10 per cent or more of your estate to charity, the inheritance tax on the rest of your estate reduces to 36 per cent.
Find your local professional
Whatever questions you may have regarding your will, from leaving charitable gifts to understanding the legal jargon, having professional help can make the difference between having your wishes carried out, or leaving a mess for others to clear up. The biggest lesson to take away is: don’t leave it until tomorrow. For peace of mind, book an appointment with your local professional, and do justice to one of the most meaningful acts of your life.