During a recent meeting with a new client I asked if they have Wills in place. "Why are you asking?" they replied, "lawyers do Wills, not accountants." In one sense they are of course correct we don't draft Wills and leave this to lawyers or other qualified professionals. But often our overall knowledge of a client's personal and business affairs, as well of inheritance tax, makes us very well placed to help clients decide what they want to go in their Will.
But why do you need a Will? Let's face it, few of us wake up one morning and decide it's something that must be done today! The main reason for having a Will is to make sure that, should the worst happen, your assets are distributed to those you would like to have them. If you die without a valid Will your assets will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy and these may not produce the result you would have wanted.
Even if you have a Will it is important to keep it under regular review to keep it current for developments in your life and the assets you hold. Marriage, divorce, children, windfall gains, business sales, etc may all prompt you to make changes to your Will.
You may just decide you don't like someone anymore! Alongside your Will you should also consider Lasting Powers of Attorney (both health & welfare and property & financial) and Letters of Wish for any pensions schemes and life insurance policies.
It all sounds like a lot but my experience is that most clients are very pleased to have these matters sorted. All take time but having someone who knows your affairs and has been through the process with others, will help to make it as easy as possible.
So, whilst it is true that "we don't do Wills" we can certainly help.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.