PLANNING…Wills Checklist

Wills Checklist

This week we are focusing on ensuring that firstly, you have a Will but secondly, and most importantly, that your Will does exactly what you want it to…and is valid!


Remember, a Will is a working document and we always recommend reviewing your Will every three to five years (as a minimum) and when a life event occurs to ensure that it still does what YOU want it to.


We have set out below a little checklist of considerations and points so that you can review your own Will and ensure that it is up to date and your wishes will be carried out when needed.



  1. Executors


    1. Have you appointed someone that you TRUST implicitly as your Executor (or has the person who drafted your Will been inserted)?


    1. Does your Will mention replacement Executors to cover circumstances in which your first choice Executor is unable or unwilling to act?


  1. CHILDREN – such an important consideration for any parents!


    1. Who would you like to look after your children should both you and your spouse pass before they reach 18?


    1. Have you thought about replacement Guardians to cover circumstances in which your first choice Guardians are unable or unwilling to act?


  1. Trusts


    1. What age would you like your children to reach before having unconditional access to their inheritance (usually 18, 21 or 25)?


    1. Who have you appointed as Trustees (Managers, if you like) of your finances should your children inherit before reaching 18 (or the age you have prescribed in the Will)?


    1. Has a professional individual / body / organisation been appointed as Trustee and you would prefer to appoint a loved one?


    1. Do you need to consider including a Vulnerable Beneficiary Trust and are you aware of the special tax treatment?


    1. Do you want to pass your property to your children but ensure your spouse has somewhere to live for the remainder of their life?



  1. Specific Gifts


    1. Are there any specific gifts that you wish to leave to anyone?


  • Wedding ring

  • Watch

  • Jewellery

  • Money etc.


  1. Animals


    1. Do you have any animals that you need to make provisions for in your Will?


  1. Exclusions


    1. Is there anyone that you have specifically excluded from your Will (an ex-spouse, perhaps) that we should clarify an exclusion for?


  1. Funeral Wishes and Organ Donation


    1. Have you included your Funeral wishes in your Will or have you put a Funeral Plan in place?


    1. Have you included your wishes as to organ donation?


  1. The Legalities


    1. Witnessing

Has your Will been witnessed by two individuals that saw you sign the Will?


Are the witnesses, or their spouse, mentioned in the Will as a Beneficiary?


    1. Marriage

Marriage can make your Will invalid, unless the intended marriage is stated within your Will. So, if you have got married since writing your Will that Will will no longer be valid.

If you would like to have a free chat about your existing Will or making a new Will, please contact us on or 01727 865 121

Leah Waller

Got a Question or want to book a FREE Consultation?

Why I put a Funeral Plan in place…

Why I put a Funeral Plan
in place...

This week, in an attempt to get planning the ‘grown-up’ things from the ever-growing to-do list, we are focusing on Funeral Plans. So, I thought it may be easier for me to share with you, why I have decided to put my Funeral Plan in place…

I’ve recently turned 40 and have no plans to go anywhere any time soon, but we never know when our time is up. I have two sons and adore them both equally, but they are still young and both, in the nicest way possible, useless at organising anything (if it’s not for their benefit ;))

When my time is up, one of my boys will need to take control and plan my funeral. There are so many considerations when arranging a funeral, such as:

  • which Funeral Directors to use?
  • burial or cremation?
  • location?
  • transport?
  • viewings of the body?
  • Religious or humanist service?
  • what hymns and/or songs would you like played?
  • order of service?
  • obituary / readings?
  • flowers?
  • charitable donations?

Not only is this quite overwhelming, it may well be the case that they are unaware of what my wishes are and why would they?

This is not a conversation that most of us have, especially with our children, so they may be left guessing at what I would have wanted and this could cause disagreements between them that could have lasting effects.

I don’t want to put that emotional burden on my boys

So, who pays for it all too?

“Surely we’ll just go to dad’s bank and get the money out from there?”

It may not be that simple. Depending on the bank they may not release any funds until probate has been carried out – this could take anywhere between 6-12 months. There also may not be enough money in my bank at the time, so how do they pay for it? My children, or a loved one will need to stump up the money themselves, and unfortunately, the cost of a funeral runs into the thousands (£££!!!) (with funeral costs having risen 122% since 2004! – Cost of Dying Report – 2018 ).

I don’t want to put that financial burden on my boys

So, this is why I put a funeral plan in place.

We are linked to one of the most reputable pre-paid funeral providers in the country, so I knew everything I needed to know already. I took the option of the low cost monthly instalments and I barely notice it coming out of my bank account. All my wishes are listed, including my preferred funeral director and now, when the time comes, all my sons need to do is make one phone call to activate the plan.

The plan is locked in at the price of when I took the plan out as the money I pay is invested in unit trusts and bonds and is guaranteed to cover the cost of the funeral directors services.

For me personally, it’s one of the most valuable services we provide as we often plan for the future with Life Insurance, Wills and planning for Inheritance Tax but when the time comes, the funeral is the first thing that needs to be sorted and paid for.

We offer free consultations, lots of free information in articles, FAQs and videos on our website, so if you would like to chat more about saving your loved ones form the emotional and financial burden, please do get in touch.

If you would like more information or to discuss putting a funeral plan in place, call us on 01727 865 121 or email us at for a free, relaxed and considerate discussion on how we can help

Neil Barras-Smith

Got a Question or want to book a FREE Consultation?

New year, new resolutions, new you? Let’s getting planning…

New year, new resolutions, new you?
Let’s getting planning...


So, it’s the start of the New Year and we’ve said goodbye to another that’s passed. Last year may have been good, it may have been troubled and you may not have got round to ticking everything off that to-do list or kept last year’s resolutions…


Each week, we will be writing an article around the “grown up stuff” that should be planned for with useful information and free advice as always to help you to plan for your family’s future and keep on track (don’t worry we will keep them short, to the point and add a little element of fun where we can!).


We will be looking at:


  1. Funeral planning

    1. How to save your loved ones the emotional burden; and

    2. How to save loved ones the financial burden


  1. Wills & Trusts

    1. Planning for Inheritance Tax;

    2. Ensuring your money goes where you want it to;

    3. Guardians for your children;and

    4. Protecting your property against unwanted costs and taxes.


  1. Lasting Power of Attorney

    1. What is it and why is it important? and

    2. Who to choose as your Attorneys


  1. Probate

    1. What is the process and why is it important?

    2. How to get the help you need at such a difficult time;

    3. Why IHT forms are so important to complete correctly; and

    4. What are you liable for as an Executor?


  1. Pensions and investments

    1. Do you know how your pensions are performing?

    2. Are your investments working in the way you want them to or could they be placed elsewhere?


In all of our articles we aim to give you the information that you need in a simple and easy to understand format, to help you to make the decisions that you want to.


It seems that there is never enough hours in the day but let’s start the year on a positive and MAKE TIME to plan and get some of these things in place and off of your to-do list.


Check out our website for lots of free information or contact us for a free meeting.

Neil Barras-Smith

Got a Question or want to book a FREE Consultation?