The real cost of a free Will…

The real cost of a free Will...

We all know the saying “Nothing in life is free” but we are all enticed by a freebie. Sometimes these freebies end up costing us in ways we may not be aware.

From the 1990s to early 2000s, banks were providing a cheap or even free will-writing service and it is thought that as many as 1.5 million customers signed up to. Unbeknown to some of these customers, believing they were getting a great service from their bank, the banks wrote themselves in as Executors, entitling them to charge up to 2.5 percent of the estate value in legal fees to act as an Executor.


Now, if the Estate is valued at a modest £500,000 (and with house prices nowadays this could be a lot more), the fee could be £12,500. Depending on the complexities of the estate, Executors can carry out administration of the estate for far less of a fee and save around £10,000 on typical costs – these savings could be going to your beneficiaries. Unfortunately, it’s not just the banks that were at it, other will-writing providers and solicitors would also write themselves in as Executors. 


Having someone you trust; a friend, family member or loved one as your Executor means that the beneficiaries you have put in place will get as much as possible from your estate without paying unwanted fees. Executors can ask for professional help and support if needed but it is (and should be) the right of the Executors to choose if they require professional help and how much assistance is required, not a right of the person writing the Will. If Executors need professional support to carry out the administration of an estate, they are always able to ask for assistance and it is often better to ask professionals that can give an estimate of the costs up front or a fixed fee.



What should you do if you have taken out a free Will?


Don’t panic! Just check over your Will and see who your Executors are and make sure there are no hidden surprises you may have previously been unaware of. If you are unsure, get a professional to review your Will for you.


If you do have unwanted Executors in your Will, you can write a new Will and state the Executors of your choice.


Your new Will revokes your previous Will, removing any Executors you may not wish to have involved. It’s always worth reviewing your Will on a regular basis, it is a working document that should be reviewed periodically as your wealth, life and family changes.


We are always happy to have a chat with you about who you may want to appoint as your Executors and even help with the discussion with Executors and answer any questions that they may have.


If you would like to have a free chat about your Will, please contact us on  info@TotalLegacyCare.co.uk or 01727 865 121

Neil Barras-Smith

Got a Question or want to book a FREE Consultation?

I need to put a Will in place but who do I choose as my Executors?

I need to put a Will in place but who do I choose as my Executors?

So, you have made the important decision to get a Will put in place and now you need to decide who is going to be your Executors.

An Executor is appointed in your Will and is responsible for collecting in and protecting your estate, including any property and assets that you own, and carry out the distribution of such items in accordance with your wishes.

Some of the key considerations when thinking about who to ask to be you Executor are:-

  • Who do you trust to act in a way that you direct?

Your Executor doesn’t have to have all the answers or know everything in relation to the legal aspects, financial or tax implications but they must be responsible enough to ask for help from the right people if and when that is required (this may be a solicitor, accountant, tax adviser or other specialist depending on the size and complexity of the estate and what assets you have).

Alternatively, you can appoint a professional or firm of professionals as your Executor, rather than a family member or friend, but these will usually charge a fee for their services.

  • Should more than one Executor be appointed?

A maximum number of four Executors can be appointed by the Probate Registry when a Grant of Probate is obtained upon death. This means that you can appoint up to four Executors to be responsible for the administration and dealing of your estate. Having more than one Executor relieves the burden, from just one person, of having sole responsibility and decision making powers, however, it may be necessary to consider that these Executors will have to make decisions together and so having four Executors may not be practical or possible.

  • Age of the Executor

This may seem like an obvious consideration but your appointed Executor will need to be alive, and capable of acting, at the time of your death to deal with your estate and so the age of your Executor, in comparison to your age, should be considered.

Some of the tasks that an Executor must perform (gathering in assets, making decisions in relation to property etc.) will require the Executor to be at least 18 years of age when carrying out their role.

  • Can I appoint a beneficiary as my Executor?

In short, YES! Often the best Executors are beneficiaries as they have an interest in collecting in all your assets efficiently as well as ensuring that everything is handled correctly and distributed in accordance with your wishes.

It goes without saying that your Executor should be trusted by you implicitly and if someone is a beneficiary under your Will then they are likely to possess the qualities you would like your Executor to possess.

  • Replacement Executors

Putting provisions in place for replacement Executors is a good idea to provide for circumstances where your first choice Executor is unable or unwilling to act at the time of your death. This will mean that your estate can still be dealt with by someone that you trust should your first choice not be a viable option.

When putting your Will in place, have a chat with your proposed Executors and let them know that you trust them implicitly and that is why you would love them to be an Executor. Having the conversation may well be difficult but it will save, what can be a shocking, surprise should anything happen to you and they are required to act.

An Executor has the right to refuse to act, if they are unwilling do so and so discussions at the time that a Will is put in place are important to overcome this. An Executor may be unable to act, through incapacity or if their death occurs before yours, however having conversations with your proposed Executors, when putting your Will in place, should prevent any surprises and limit the risk of them renouncing their obligations when the time comes.

We are always happy to have a chat with you about who you may want to appoint as your Executors and even help with the discussion with Executors and answer any questions that they may have.

 

If you would like to have a free chat about your Will, please contact us on  

info@TotalLegacyCare.co.uk or 01727 865 121

Leah Waller

Got a Question or want to book a FREE Consultation?