/ A will
Having spent nearly three years dealing with my mums estate, where there was no legally binding will & other complications, I have to say if you don't have a will you're leaving a potentially huge burden to your loved ones.
Yes, go to a solicitor. They will talk you through it all. You missed Will aid in November though which could have saved you a bit of money while making a charitable contribution.
You need to ask since their main responsibility is to locate your will when you die and then execute it. If you don't tell them, they won't know to look for your will and as a result it may never be discovered.
Whats the etiquette in choosing a executor? Is it courtesy to ask them or is that can you just surprise them?
You must ASK them if they are willing to be executor. It's quite an onerous time consuming task, and can be thankless. Not only do you have to deal with immediate issues like the funeral, but also collate and deal with all their assets and outstanding debts, their latest income tax situation and possibly Inheritance Tax. I've been an executor twice now, and I don't think I'd agree to do it again, particularly if there are family members who have been "left out" of the will for any reason or not lerft what they had expected, which can lead to you being at the receiving end of flak and family pressures! OK you can hide behind your duty to execute the will precisely as it sets out, but it can still leave you with soured inter family relations!
Also because it can be time consuming consider leaving the executor(s) something (eg £1000 or so) in recognition of the task you are asking them to do over and above any legacy you may be leaving them.
Don't have too many executors because all the paperwork has to do the rounds for signatures etc, and whilst it might make sense to appoint your siblings or close friends, bear in mind that as you get older so do they (you may even outlive them), and you may have to make another will later appointing an adult child(children) who is (are) from a youinger generation.
You're right; the OP should ask for permission to include people as exec's but they can always decline at the time if needs be.
To the OP: defo go to a solicitor. Where do you live - if in the Midlands I can recommend someone.
Having just wrapped up my dad's will I can only say I was incredibly grateful that he had it all drawn up neat and tidy by a solicitor. I acted as executor. It somehow managed to take three pages to say it was an equal split between the three kids but whatever it cost it was worth it. Probate was through in six weeks and nothing to fall out over. Having been through it I was straight down to the local practice to get my will professionally written. Came in at considerably less than £100 but again it was very simple
A lot does depend on your solicitor, when my dad died he had made a new will but never signed it. The solicitor basically said to us we could act as if he had signed it (which is what we did) or agree to divide things up between ourselves as we saw fit, effectively creating our own will on dad's behalf.
A lot will depend on the family as well: if you get on and the will isn't divisive then things can move along pretty quickly.
It's surprising how many people you have to inform once you've told the registrar. One of the harder and more depressing tasks in life.
It's not just how people get on in the family, if there are minors involved they wouldn't be able to agree to anything legally so there could be a problem with this approach. If a minor's interest were ignored, they could make a claim at a later date.
It's always best to get a will drawn up and to go to a half ways decent solicitor. As Heike said above, a will can still be challenged if it is blatantly unfair but that is very rare.
From my limited experience the executors have always been asked and have been someone connected but slightly removed from the dead person.
If you live near Cheltenham/Tewkesbury I've a friend who would be glad to be of service to you.
My parents made a will with a solicitor. When they went to amend it, another solicitor said the first one wasn't worth the paper it was written on!
So be careful about who you choose.
I need to re-do mine, now I'm married - I'm planning on doing a DIY kit jobbie this week to cover the essentials, before I go on holiday, and then get a more formal one done when I get back and have more time to sort it out properly.
I really really wouldn't bother with the DIY kit thing (and the previous poster - it's far too easy to get something wrong and for it to be completely invalid). I'd write down the basics of what you want and just go and see a decent specialist private client lawyer. Even if you can't do that, a specialist will know all the questions to ask and put it down for you. Doing a DIY kit thing first won't save you money, rather the reverse. As I mentioned, if you are around the Midlands, I can recommend someone.
A decent private client lawyer could knock you up a decent emergency will this week and tidy it up when you're back. I'd not bother with a DIY one.
I went to a solicitor, I don't think it was much over £50 and felt kind of worth it. They keep a copy, I keep a copy, and they gave advice I hadn't picked up elsewhere. For example, for simplicity, I hadn't appreciated the main beneficiary and the executor could be the same person, which in the original circumstances made sense. After all, if everything is left to a spouse, why would it need a third party to figure out all the various bits of estate which tend to exist. Just trivial stuff like old pensions etc.
My current will is, however, capricious ... which is what happens when you have no progeny.
> I went to a solicitor, I don't think it was much over £50 and felt kind of worth it. They keep a copy, I keep a copy.....
> My current will is, however, capricious ... which is what happens when you have no progeny.
When you do have kids it gets a little more tricky, My wife and I drew up ours when our kids were young, after discussions with my sister and BIL. They were named as those that we wanted to take care of our kids, ( and vice versa) and of course there was money to go to the guardians for their care until the were no longer minors.
The solicitor keeps originals, we all have copies. ( kids are now 21 to 30, so my sister no longer needs to sweat that she will end up with 5 kids, nor do my wife and I (as it was a reciprocal arrangement) Phew!
My father and I went to the family solicitor when he was diagnosed with a cancer, and drew up a will which was bit late in the day, but better than just avoiding the subject.
My mother was a nurse and is a bit more forward thinking , and she has a will and she has also paid her funeral, chosen her music etc, before she get too old , or incapable. ( so we don't bury her on the cheap -she jokes ) I think!
We also bought a family plot at the local cemetery when my father died, and got a big stone left plenty of room on it for inscriptions!
I am now fairly happy that both my wife and I and my mother( and also my FIL) all have our affairs in order, and we can all now concentrate on coffin dodging for as long a we can, but all knowing we will not be leaving a legal mess for others. I think it was pricier than £50 quid though, £250-£300 comes to mind (per will. )
Maybe if you do get a Will drawn up, it may be cheaper in the long run, to anticipate children, elderly parents care etc. and try and make some provision for this from your assets/ insurances or whatever, even a codicil to an existing will is pricey.
Which is why i said to use a specialist private client solicitor and, yes, they will generally charge a lot more than £50 (as I said, I wouldn't trust a will knocked up at that pricce). Like all fields, the better solicitors specialise in certain areas and, whilst private client isn't necessaril the sexy end of the legal market, it is better than conveyancing and you get some v good private client lawyers. I know what I charge for professional advice and, to some extent, you pay for what you get. I would still use a solicitor for a number of reasons however. Personally I would not use a will writer who was not a solicitor and I would want a reasonable sized/reputable firm behind it as reassurancce and, if something did go wrong, to stand behind their work with a sensible level of PI cover.
> Whats the etiquette in choosing a executor? Is it courtesy to ask them or is that can you just surprise them?
> You must ASK them if they are willing to be executor. It's quite an onerous time consuming task, and can be thankless.......
There is a thing called something like - tell them once.
You do just that, fill in the details and they make sure all the other relevant public bodies are informed, great, but do have all the papers to hand so that you can complete it once ( as it says)
Worked great for us when MIL died suddenly on Christmas Eve two years back.
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