Resolutions for a lifetime

31st January 2014

If your New Year’s resolutions have fallen by the wayside, it may be time to look at resolutions that will last a lifetime.

As a wills and probate solicitor, I encourage you to resolve to put your affairs in order in 2014 by making a will or updating your existing will.

Without a valid, up-to-date will your estate will be distributed according to the intestacy rules and this may not follow your wishes. If you have children from previous relationships or re-married then it is even more important to make a will to make sure that all your dependants have been provided for. You can download my useful guide to the intestacy rules from the Ansons Solicitors website by clicking here. 

I regularly see clients who have been intending to make a will since they had children. They often go on to say that their children are now adults and they have grandchildren! They are usually slightly embarrassed as they know they have waited far too long to make their wills.

Other clients are prompted to make wills often at short notice when they have arranged to go on a family holiday together and realise that they have nothing in place if a tragic accident occurred while they are away. This is rare, but sadly could happen, and I often wonder how many parents have had the foresight to make a will and appoint guardians to look after their children to cover these circumstances.

When you choose someone to prepare your will, look out for a specialist practitioner who is a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners – STEP. This person will have specialist knowledge concerning wills, estates and trusts.

STEP is introducing a “gold standard” code for will writing which all its members must adhere to. This prioritises the highest standards of professional advice and conduct.

So this year forget faddy diets and cruel exercise regimes, the only way to get true peace of mind is making sure that your loved ones are properly provided for after you are gone. Start by making your first lifetime resolution and make an appointment with a qualified solicitor who is a member of STEP to write your will keep it up-to-date.

Shelly Wainwright

Wills and probate solicitor at Ansons Solicitors LLP based in Lichfield and Cannock, Staffordshire