What is a will?

My first blog post

When dad asked me to write this blog, I must admit that it made me extremely nervous. I started to ask myself:
‘Will anyone read it?’,
‘Why would anyone care what I have to say?’ and
‘What can I even write about?’.

I have only been here full time for a few weeks since the end of my exams. Over the past few months I’ve met a small number of clients whilst helping to draft their wills and LPAs (Lasting Powers of Attorney), but I haven’t started to get involved with the ‘financial side’ of things. This makes writing a blog hard when the ‘financial side’ is pretty much the whole of what H J Scott & Co is.

So I have decided to write this blog on a subject of which I do have knowledge…wills; and in true Scott style I will describing them in an odd way, relating them to something completely random but it will all make sense in the end (hopefully). So here goes… a will is like a recipe from a cookbook.

“You’ll find that recipe in the booklet, so I won’t show you now.” – Fanny Cradock

Every will is different, personalised and unique according to the situation. The contents of most wills remain a secret until a death occurs. Gone are the days where perfect, nuclear families (with parents who are joined at the hip for life with two angelic children growing up to be doctors and lawyers) were considered the norm. However, wills, like recipes, have a few basic ingredients which are used every time. Consider flour as the person who writes the will (testator), eggs the people nominated to sort things out (executors), specific gifts the sugar and residue (what’s left over) the Stork. Other brands of margarine are available.

On top of these basic ingredients, by adding extras we can turn a simple Vic sponge into something worthy of the Great British Bake Off, and it’s the same with wills. As previously mentioned, every family is different, so we make additions to the recipe to allow it to cater for different situations. We can add discretionary trusts and nil-rate band trusts, amongst others, to ensure that our money and property are protected for future generations. More about that in my next blog.

Charlotte’s Vic sponge

I guess we have all taken a Mary Berry or Delia Smith staple and adjusted it over the years.

Recipes can be updated an unlimited number of times. At the start, it can be a simple Vic sponge recipe, but after a few years we might have added some garnishes, chocolate chips and a cherry on top. As life is unpredictable and can change in the blink of an eye. It’s always a good idea to revisit your will every few years as your own family recipes change, even if the changes are too subtle to notice on first glance.

A Christmas Cookbook is for life not just Christmas

Like recipes, wills continue long after we are gone. Just as Fanny Cradock’s Christmas Cooking Cookbooks are still being used to this day, when a will trust comes into effect upon death it can last for 125 years, providing safety and security for many generations of your family.

Talking about the inevitable event of death isn’t a very nice subject. For the majority of us it’s a topic we would rather avoid completely. The problem with this approach is, whilst it makes us feel better, it can cause issues in the future. Because, as horrible as it sounds, with the ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ approach, at some point ‘tomorrow’ won’t appear.

We should take a leaf out of Mexico’s book, they have a dedicated day where they celebrate their lost ones and turn it into a great party.

This approach is so common that over 60% of Britons don’t have a will. Having no will means leaving what you own personally at the mercy of the government’s intestacy rules. Whilst these rules traditionally work, they are often not suitable unless you are the perfect nuclear family, and even then it makes the process a lot more complicated and upsetting than it needs to be.

So, at the end of this possibly over complicated analogy, a simple conversation about death over a brew and biscuits can prevent a lifetime of problems in the future. And if all this blog has done has brought back memories of Fanny Cradock’s strangely posh voice and bright ball gowns under her apron, then I suppose it was still worth reading.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usxozpMgwnE[/embedyt]

9 Replies to “What is a will?”

  1. Hi Charlotte
    Congratulations on completing your exams and thanks for your first Blog.
    Both Jacqueline and I have Wills and Enduring Powers of Attorneys
    in place, as you would expect.
    However we look forward to talking to you when we next meet up Howard.

  2. Nice one Charlotte. My dad died in 1980 without a will and it created total chaos and massive hassle for more than a year. That lesson taught our family the importance of “tidying up”. We recently lost my mum and the whole probate process although tedius, is infinitely less so with a will. Great advice welcome to the asylum:)

  3. Thank you Charlotte. Nice intro.
    It reminded Angie and me to reply to your invite for a review.
    See you once it starts raining!

  4. Hello Charlotte
    Great opening blog, chip off the old mans block
    Keep lt going
    I need to sort myself out with a will and will be in touch
    Good luck

  5. Following our recent visit to review our wills, Pete and I would like to thank you for your already expert advice . Hope this is the start of a happy and rewarding career for you. Thanks Janet

  6. Hi Charlotte, great first blog although admittedly I did have to read it twice when you started talking about Victoria sponge and chocolate chips, couldn’t concentrate on wills when there’s food involved! 😉
    Goes without saying, well done in your exams, we did briefly meet at the office earlier this year but will be great to catch up in the near future to go over mine and mandys wills. Had the pleasure of meeting Chris in June at the Warwick golf charity event, a round of golf with him and your dad, what a pleasure.
    Have a lovely weekend
    Johnny and Mandy x

  7. Hi Charlotte, welcome aboard and we’ll done getting you first blog done (no doubt under a very keen eye).
    We don’t have a will as such but will be more than happy to get you view on what we need to do. Speak too you soon.
    Maureen and Stewart

  8. Good start Charlotte. Looking forward to more of your tenuous links to important subjects.

  9. Dear Charlotte,
    I look forward to your next blog as the whole topic of trusts in wills is something I only vaguely understand. Clear and concise explanation and illustration, with nothing added to keep things jolly, will be most welcome.
    Kind regards,

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