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).
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.
Make a Pet Trust
You can’t legally leave money to pets, but you can leave money to provide. Include a Codicil with likes/dislikes, medical info etc. Barker Evans has a post on how to set up a pet trust. If you are not in good health, Cinnamon Trust can often find homes after you die, if you contact them in advance.
If you have no family or friends who can help, get a free Dog’s Trust Canine Card (that finds homes for pets, after you die). Also read Power of Attorney so you can allow an appointed person to make decisions for you, if need be.
Estate Planning For When You Have Pets is written by an American lawyer, but the information is good elsewhere. It covers simple re-homing decisions, setting aside funds and choosing the right people to take care of your pet. Along with how to find people to look after exotic pets like snakes!
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