A few people have asked me lately how I got into the business of will writing, so here’s my story.
My early career was in banking and whilst working for HSBC I studied and passed my exams to be a financial adviser. It was doing that work which brought me into the world of wills. Financial advice is a very targeted profession and I had a target to write two wills per month. When I left I wrote 100 wills in my last year. So, I knew that was what I wanted to do.
I then went to work for an Independent Financial adviser practice and was writing wills for the clients of that practice. Then six years ago I became a Grandma and decided that I wanted to be in control of when I worked and when I could be Grandma so I set up my own business.
It is my earlier career background that helps me today knowing banking rules and financial advice.
Some of you may have seen my recent Facebook post when I wrote that I have now dealt with over 1000 clients in the last six years.
You might gather that I love my work but what I love most is seeing how reassured clients are when they have all the important paperwork in place and legal.
What exactly does a Will And Estate Planning Consultant do?
When I meet my clients it is usually because they need to write their very first will or sometimes it is to bring up to date an existing will. I talk about what they want to happen when they are no longer alive but I also cover various trusts which can be put in a will.
One of the most popular ones is for a residential property and ensures that when the first person of a couple dies, their half share of the main home is ring fenced in a trust to stop the survivor passing it on to a new spouse if they married again. It also stops it being used for care costs.
Another popular trust is a discretionary trust which can be put in a will if someone wants to pass assets to someone in receipt of benefits or maybe an adult child is going through divorce.
Assets put in trust are not actually owned by the recipient so then the funds couldn’t become part of a divorce settlement or in the case of someone receiving benefits- it would prevent the benefits being stopped because of an inheritance.
This is estate planning.
Another aspect of my work is to encourage everyone to get their Lasting Powers of Attorney written.
These are legal documents that ensure you have nominated people you trust to be able to act for you if you are unable to act for yourself.
Most people think these are for when you are old and doddery or have dementia.
They can help you when you just cannot deal with matters yourself. I have just done them for a couple in their 40’s whose work has caused them live in India for a couple of years and they have rented out their house in Aylesbury. Nominating her sister as an attorney means that she can deal with any of the paperwork needed for the rental and move funds around from their UK bank accounts if needed.
This again comes under the umbrella of estate planning.
To give you an idea of costs – I charge £199 for a single basic will and £299 for a pair of mirror basic wills. This gives a couple a will each and my figures already include VAT and my advice and visits.
Quite often most peoples concern is that there is someone in the family that they really don’t want to benefit so then it is vital to get a will in place.
This year I dealt with my richest client so far with an estate over £30 million and on the other side of the scale I have dealt with a single mum in a rented flat.
We all need that important document no matter where you are in the scale of wealth.