Good Will Hunting

Our latest blog with Jamie...

"On my rare days off I love lazing around on the sofa, getting my fix of morning television and cheeky innuendo from Phil and Holly. But there is this advert for life insurance which ruins my day. It has the usual advice about ‘making sure the family can pay the bills when you’re gone’. This is okay on its own but it’s the little box in the corner at very end which reads ‘free will kit included’ that drives me nuts. Ask my partner and she will tell you how I go on about those four little words.

I have a problem with life companies, or anybody else for that matter, offering DIY will kits for two reasons, and neither of them is financial gain for me.

The first issue is the way the ‘free will kit’ is presented. Wills are not even mentioned before this message appears at the end of the ad. It is treated as trivial, as if making a will is like deciding what you’re going to have for breakfast. The advert presents wills as something that you don’t need think about. I can tell you after being a private client lawyer for the past seven years that this is rubbish. I have seen countless homemade wills which not only don’t give effect to a person’s wishes, they make dealing with an estate a lot more complicated and expensive. Life insurance companies should really stick to cajoling Michael Parkinson in to flogging Parker pens (I know, we all love Parky).

The second issue is that making a good will is not as easy as filling in a form. There are differences in every person’s circumstances that drastically affect their planning. One size does not fit all. A standard form does not provide any room for manoeuvre.

And where is the advice on the other issues? The knock on effects of what you are doing? The protection of your assets before you die? The check that you are getting the benefits you would expect to be getting? Advice on the tax consequences and planning to minimise them?

Rant over (I still rant to my partner about this so be glad you’re not her). If you take anything away from this article please consider that DIY wills are a false economy. You may save a few quid making your own will but you will potentially be creating more costs in the future for your family. We offer free, no obligation initial appointments to discuss making wills so what do you have to lose by coming in to have a discussion even if you decide to tick your own boxes? To make a free appointment, please call 01229 811811 and ask for the wills department."

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