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.