It bugs me that unqualified and unregulated advisers are allowed to offer cheap will services to the public in a way that suggests that lawyers are bad and expensive people whilst they are shining white knights who can solve all your Will planning issues with the swish of a laptop.
Let me give you an example. I saw a couple recently who had asked me to visit because they were worried that they had not made Wills. All they wanted to do was to leave everything to the survivor and then on to their daughter. Simple. And unnecessary. They don’t need to waste money on a Will to do that when, in their particular circumstances, that is what would happen anyway.
So what did I do? Did I tell them they don’t need a Will and leave it at that? Make them a Will and charge them for something they don’t need? Answer? Neither of the above. I made myself comfy and had a long chat with them. I asked them lots of important questions surrounding their own circumstances and what they really want to achieve and I gave them a lot of really good advice. Neither of them are in the best of health and either or both of them may need long term care in future. One is likely to lose the ability to look after their own financial affairs due to a progressive illness and so this raised a better way of making Wills using trusts to protect assets, a better division of their assets between them, the possibility of making gifts to their daughter or into a Trust, and the need for Lasting Powers of Attorney. We also looked at their finances and I advised them on a basic level which of their investments were definitely ‘keepers’ due to their exemption from means testing and which they should talk to our in house Independent Financial Advisers about.
I followed that up with a detailed letter setting out the options, with a full price list for each part of my advice. Some of it is quite pricey but represents good value in terms of what it gives them towards what they want to achieve.
The cost so far? Nothing. If they don’t like me or the advice I have given them then they will not get a bill. I will have been happy to spend the time with them and point them in the right direction.
Having said that, I hope to see them again soon, with their daughter, to discuss next steps.
So don’t fall for that sales pitch about nasty, expensive lawyers. Get really good advice, without any cost or up-front commitment.
(Please note- I got our clients’ consent to running this blog and changed a few things round so they are not recognisable)