Pin Image

Where There’s a Will {There’s a Way}

Author: Lisa Soeno

It’s probably one of the most awkward conversations Rich and I have had: the discussion about whether to draw up wills. I’m one of these people that would happily live in a world full of fluff and glitter and unicorns … I turn the news off if it’s too sad and will refuse to watch anything too gory, scary or violent. But from past experience I felt that when it came to our kids’ futures I couldn’t leave my head in the clouds and shy away from what in my eyes was a necessary evil.

In my ‘other’ job which is within the legal profession, the bitterest disputes I’ve witnessed have been those surrounding wills and probate. Usually where someone has died and hasn’t left a will. Or where they have left a will but other family members have disputed it. As with most people, when we bought our current home it was the biggest financial commitment we had ever made. Lyra was only eight months old at the time but I wanted to try my best to ensure that if the worst was to happen, that she would be provided for. And that she wouldn’t be dragged into a horrible legal argument. Hence me prompting that awkward conversation.

Once we had decided to go ahead, there were yet more awkward conversations with our solicitor. And the fact that Rich and I aren’t married made it all the more complicated. I remember sitting in a grey characterless office being asked to have a think about some really sad situations. Who would we want to look after Lyra and any future kids in the event that we both died at the same time? What would happen to the property if we split up and either of us married new partners? At which age did we think Lyra was responsible enough to receive an inheritance if both of us passed away whilst she was still little? Seriously, really tough.

Now it’s all over and done with, however, I do feel like a weight has been lifted. In terms of time and cost, it only took a couple of weeks of to-ing and fro-ing with the solicitor to get the wills finalised, and we paid £387 in total. It may seem a lot of money but I’d say it’s worth it for peace of mind, if nothing else. Of course, as we’ve since had a second child I do need to review our wills and double check that they’re still up-to-date (*adds this task to the ever-increasing To Do list in my iphone notes).

Sorry if this post has been all doom and gloom. It’s definitely an important subject, albeit a bit of a tricky and possibly taboo one. I promise normal service will resume tomorrow!

Have you (and your other halves) drawn up a will? At what age/stage of life do you think a will is a necessity? Or not at all? Are you surprised at the statistic that says that over half of British adults haven’t made a will?

{Contributors}

Image of Rebecca’s snug by Adam Crohill. Find the full room tour here.

Author
Author: Lisa Soeno
Lisa is obsessed with all things interior design. And Cadbury buttons.
Follow Lisa on instagram @lisa.soeno

30 thoughts on “Where There’s a Will {There’s a Way}

  1. I think it’s very important. Every November Will Aid happens, we used this, find a local solicitor who is part of the scheme, ours cost £150 for the two of us, as they are identical wills, more if you aren’t married (I think). https://www.willaid.org.uk/

    1. Sorry, forgot to say, it’s a charitable donation, some solicitors join every year, in the hope that if you need a solicitor at other times, you will go back to them.

      1. Thanks Eileen, that’s really useful to know about. I had been put off making a will as I wasn’t sure about the cost. But I’ve just contacted one of the Will Aid solicitors in our local area and they’ve already emailed back with some information. I’m feeling very productive now!

  2. We haven’t made one yet. We did life insurance last night and wills are tonight. We’re rocking the house here. Adulting month so to speak.

    The scary thing is if you don’t have a will and you die your children may go into care whilst immediate care is sorted and checks carried out on your nearest and dearest. If anything, that’s reason enough.

    I actually think £400 is a bargain for two wills but definitely going to check out wills month above. My only concern is whether they will be general high street solicitors or specialised enough to understand trusts and tax.

    1. Hi Rebecca, the ones we used were one of the largest practices in Worcester, they use it as a marketing tool, it worked, we are going back to them to amend our wills now. If you go on to the Will Aid website, it lists those taking part but I would act fast, as they do get booked up quickly.

    2. Rebecca – I didn’t know this about your children going into care while they sort things out if you don’t have a will, that has definitely made me bring it to the top of my ‘to do’ list!

  3. We haven’t done a will, but it’s definitely on the to do list. If I’m honest, it hasn’t felt a priority as we a) don’t own property and b) have no children. However the former is hopefully on the horizon so it’ll certainly become more of a priority then.

    On a similar vein though, I recently went through putting Power of Attorney in place with both my parents – it’s not something either of them require now, but it made sense to do it before it becomes a necessity. My Dad and Uncle had to do it for my Nan whilst she was ill and in a care home so they could sell her house and help with the finances. It was really stressful for all involved and that’s why my parents decided to do it sooner rather than later. It’s not a nice thing to think about the possibilities of why you’re doing it, but I think it’s better to be prepared so if the worst happens, it’s one less thing to worry about.

      1. My parents did this for themselves last year – like you say it’s much easier to do long before it’s needed! Also worth noting that there are two types – one for financial attorneys and one for health, they need to be done separately.

  4. Yep, it’s not a particularly sexy topic but it’s one that’s really at the forefront of my mind at the moment. My darling grandparents are currently dealing with my grandmothers recent terminal diagnosis and thankfully (if you can say that) they are not worrying about funeral arrangements, wills etc because is already sorted and they can just spend time together and with all of us.
    It’s really made me think about getting me and mine all sorted too. We’ve started our life insurance applications.
    I think it’s hard as I want to be very practical and my husband finds this a really difficult thing to discuss and feels it’s far too early.
    Sometimes the hardest part is finding a way of getting both parties to sensitively discuss what they want.
    As a result, I’ve bought us both a ‘kick the bucket’ folder! We’re separately filling our own with all relevant information about finances, passwords (I don’t want my social media accounts available after death), funeral requests etc so that he doesn’t have to talk about it too much.

    1. So sorry to hear Charlie. But good that those kind of arrangements are all sorted and you can just concentrate on quality family time.

      Interesting point about social media – you’ve prompted me to look into this. X

      1. Reading articles about how families have contacted social media platforms to try and take down the pages of their loved ones, it’s clear that it’s such a challenge. Plus, I’m not sure that I want people to be able to access that content or write posts to the page.
        I know that I wouldn’t want to see people writing messages to my loved ones on a public platform. I imagine it would be even more upsetting.

          1. After a couple of landmark cases it’s a little easier to memorialise an account but they will never hand over passwords.

            https://m.facebook.com/help/150486848354038?helpref=faq_content

            http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20160313-the-unstoppable-rise-of-the-facebook-dead

            http://mashable.com/2013/02/13/facebook-after-death/#ZwcrmnQrV8qw

            The BBC article was what really made me decide to disclose passwords to loved ones to close my acccount. I don’t want to be memorialised online.

  5. Wills are definitely on our to do list at the moment.
    I’d also remind people to ensure any death in service or pensions are up to date with who they should go to as these can be sorted separately to wills and is as simple as a form normally to your pension provider. It just helps loved ones as one less thing to worry about if the worst happens.

  6. Has anyone tried the ‘Which’ will service? It seems cheaper than a solicitor but I wondered if it would still be as good as going to see a solicitor. Just wondered if anyone had used it?

  7. This is so apt at the moment. We have been meaning to get our wills sorted for ages now and only discussed it again yesterday. I will definitely be looking at Willaid. We also relooked at our life insurance, having since bought a house and having two children, it needed a serious update. A very sobering topic but so important. Thanks.

  8. It’s so important to have a will and something so many people overlook. Thanks for this post Lisa.

    My mum passed away relatively young, as did her father, so I have always been very aware of the need to be prepared. When my husband and I first married we didn’t make wills, but once we had our daughter and moved to a bigger house I insisted we do it. He has a daughter from a previous relationship too so it made sense to make sure she is provided for and his wishes are recorded. We actually had ours done for free with a scheme run by our trade union so that’s worth looking into.

    Like others have said, it’s also important to name your death benefit recipient for your pension, especially if you aren’t married. Recent case law means that schemes have to pay cohabiting partners if they meet certain criteria, even if they’re not named, but it’s so much easier for everyone if the admin is done in advance.

    It’s a horrible thing to have to think about, but it makes me feel better to know that we’ve agreed who will raise our children if the unthinkable happened, and that they would be properly provided for.

  9. Definitely agree it is a necessary evil! We did ours last year, after having our daughter and meaning to do it for months and months and, of course, never quite managing to do it. But it was surprisingly pain free and easy, once you get over the awkward questions with your partner. Honestly the hardest part was agreeing who would look after our daughter, nothing like an awkward discussion about whose parents are most suitable, eek!! I feel so much better knowing that it is done though, should the unthinkable happen. Great post Lisa!

  10. Coming at it from a lawyer’s perspective I think this is something really important which everyone ought to think about, particularly where you are in a long term relationship but unmarried and where children are involved (in any circumstance). So nice one Lisa on sorting this!

    It really doesn’t take that long to sort out and doesn’t cost a lot of money – and is well worth it in the long term for piece of mind should the worst happen!

  11. We did ours as soon as I found out I was pregnant. As older parents having a little one has certainly made us more aware of our own mortality and how preciously short life is. Currently we are dealing with the death of a parent, even with a will its can be a complex process and all at a time when you are trying to also deal with your own grief. I’d urge anyone to get a will and have sensible conversations about inheritance with their loved ones. When the inevitable happens you will be glad you did.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *