Making a Will is really important. Many people die without one, and that means you may have some awful relative you don’t see, turn up to take the money away from who you want to leave it to. Remember we are the country where wonderful batty old ladies leave everything to cats’ homes! But if you have no relatives and don’t make a Will, it becomes even worse – the government take it. And could use it to buy weapons, test on animals or even wallpaper offices in Whitehall. If pledging money to charities, only give to humane medical research (that does not torture innocent animals to find cures for disease). Also read how to set up a Pet Trust.
The problem is that although solicitors undoubtedly do a good job, most people can’t afford to spend hundreds of pounds to visit one. So if you don’t want a free Will from a big animal-testing charity (to try to make you leave a legacy to them), what do you do?
What you don’t do is buy one of those stationery kits from WH Smith, as they are not worth the paper they are written on. A Will has to be pass Probate (otherwise your nasty relative will steal the money from the cats’ home, by proving you were mentally unbalanced when you made it).
Final Wishes is a beautifully designed journal to sort out your affairs. This is not legally binding, but enables you to figure out where you want to leave your money to. Then visit Farewill, a company that offers simple online individual Wills (or Mirror Wills for couples), all checked legally, before being sent to you for signing. Find two executors (who must not be beneficiaries) to say you are of sound mind, before securely storing it somewhere.
ProperWills UK is another trustworthy company. Start your Will online in just 15 minutes, and have it ready in 3 days. Start for free, you only pay when you finalise your Will.
Remember that once your Will is made, you must update it if your circumstances change, say if you get married, divorced or someone dies. If you have any Codicils (add-on wishes like providing money for pets), then keep this with the Will.
What To Do With Everything You Own, is a guide to leaving the legacy you want. Do you want the fruits of your life’s work to benefit your family, the planet, science, human rights, the arts, your church or a cause dear to you. Turn your money and stuff into something meaningful. Marni Jameson shows how to identify who to benefit, navigate wills and trusts, head off potential family conflicts and make the best plan for your material assets.
- Identify who you want to benefit from your legacy
- Navigate wills, trusts and other paths to your goals
- Head off potential family conflicts
- Make the best plan for your material assets
When I’m Gone offers practical notes for those you leave behind. Elegantly designed and tastefully illustrated, this is a fill-in record book and resource that includes all the things you may think of, but never get to writing down. It includes information and space to write instructions on how to contact key people and locate wills, powers of attorney, medical care directives and living wills. Plus space to jot down banking details, home/car maintenance records, Pins and passwords, location of keys, phone numbers and addresses. You can also record:
- Insurance, lawyers, investments, pensions, deeds, mortgages
- Medical and healthcare records
- Funeral arrangements and last wishes
- Trusts and guardians for children, dependent adults & pets
- Access to digital records and blogs/websites
- Instructions for favourite belongings
- Digital storage of family photos
Our Last Best Act is by Mallory McDuff who after the sudden death of her parents, found herself wanted to leave a legacy beyond transfer of money and properties, but one to ensure a sustainable earth for loved ones, communities and generations to come. Unprepared both emotionally and practically, this educator and environmentalist started a personal endevaour which began a year-long exploration of green burials, aquamation, green cemetaries, home funerals and human composting! Bridging the gap between environmental action and religious faith, the book is packed with practical information to honour values, create a sustainable legacy and heal the earth.