Get Organised Month with Jannina Barker
Did you know that January is officially ‘Get Organised Month’? Whilst you may be thinking of a spring clean or clearing out your cupboards and drawers, here at Bell Lamb & Joynson Solicitors we’re organising assets and encouraging you to take time this month to look at your will.
Today we’re talking to Jannina Barker, Wills and Probate Fee Earner, who’ll be answering some of our most frequently asked questions.
1. “I have a Will in place but it was done years ago – can I just forget about it or is there anything I need to do?”
Making a Will does, of course, give you peace of mind - but like most things this is something you should review periodically. You should keep an eye on the law in relation to Inheritance Tax and obtain advice if you think that your estate may be subject to this. You should also consider major changes in your life, for example:
• Have you had more children/grandchildren and does your Will cover them?
• Has your estate increased or decreased in value and does this effect the amounts your beneficiaries would receive?
• Have you got married or separated from a partner? Are they included in your Will still? Marriage automatically revokes any Wills you have made so you may not have a valid Will in these circumstances.
• Have you suffered a bereavement, do you know what will happen to that persons share of your estate? Are you still happy with that or do you need to review and redirect that share?
2. “I’ve never had a will, what is the first thing I need to consider?”
I’d say the first thing to consider is that it is not as daunting as you initially think! It’s a practical thing to consider and will give you peace of mind knowing that your wishes are clear in a Will. Before an initial appointment, you should consider your family tree and who you would like to include in your Will. You should also consider your assets and liabilities so these can be discussed and we can advise you on how assets are held and whether they will form part of your Will or pass outside of the terms of the Will.
3. “What is the step by step process of putting a will in place and how long does it take?”
You can obtain a quote from our team and arrange a meeting to discuss your circumstances and your instructions. At our meetings we will review your family tree, your assets and liabilities and then your instructions for the Will. This gives us the opportunity to review your circumstances in full and to pose questions you may not have considered - this also highlights any additional advice you may require regarding your Will. Once we’ve seen you to take your instructions, we will forward a draft copy of the Will for you to consider before looking at the signing of the Will once approved. We normally say the whole process takes as little as two to four weeks.
4. "How will a will help me to feel more organised and in control?"
There is a lot of uncertainty in life and recent events have really highlighted this. Just having a conversation with someone and thinking about what will happen when you pass away can really give you peace of mind. People often think they know what will happen when they die and that a Will isn’t necessary, but this isn’t always the case and there are a lot of common myths when it comes to death and taxes! Focusing your mind and getting the advice you need in order to prepare a Will that suits your needs can put your mind at rest and help you and your family feel more in control of your futures should the worst happen. The process isn’t as daunting as you may think, and a lot of our clients comment that they feel much better and like a weight has been lifted once the Will is finalised and signed.
For more information, visit our wills and probate page.