It may seem like an unusual question but seriously, do you know if your parents have made a Will yet?
If you are a part of the over 50 club, it stands to reason that your parents are entering the stage of life often referred to as the twilight years, although as the ONS states, those twilight years are moving further and further out as we start to live longer lives so who knows, 80 could soon be the new 60!
Most of us assume that our parents have plans in place and have made their Wills but the reality could be very different with hazardous results. In fact only a third of us have a Will in place so your parents could well be part of the two thirds who potentially could be leaving their possessions, assets and ultimately their family unprotected.
Of course the thought of making a Will conjures up thoughts of death, which is one of the reasons why the subject rarely comes up in family discussions but this could be one of the most meaningful and important discussions you have with your parents so it really is worth biting the bullet and broaching the topic.
We all live such complex lives these days, a Will is the only way you can be sure your wishes are carried out and your possessions go to the right people. You may find they have a Will but it is out of date as it hasn’t been reviewed for a number of years. Life has a habit of changing so once a Will is in place, it’s equally important to ensure it is reviewed and where necessary updated on a regular basis
Whether you or your parents prefer to use one of the widely available DIY Wills kits; opt for an online Wills service or use a local solicitor, it is important to ensure the Will is legally valid. Unless your parents have very few assets, it may be worth seeking professional advice from a qualified person who could also advise you on Inheritance Tax and whether it is worth setting up Trusts to help protect the family’s assets.
Don’t be daunted by setting up trusts or think that they are only for the seriously rich, as this isn’t the case. Even if your parents have modest assets, a trust could be worth considering if it reduces the amount the taxman can get his hands on or the local authority, should your parents need to spend time in a Care Home.
Writing a Will isn’t just for your parents either. If you haven’t already done so it is worth considering making a Will for yourself to ensure that your immediate family are also protected.
Courtesy of the internet, there are many online resources available; just google “making a Will” to see the various options available. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking the cheapest Will is the best though as this is not always the case. If you do decide to go down the online Wills route, always make sure the company you use belongs to the Institute of Professional Will Writers; after all one small mistake could prove a costly one if it invalidates your Will.
If you do need help, Over50choices legal services are just a phone call away, with our team of qualified specialists at Lifetime Legal on hand to help guide you and your parents through the process of sorting out your affairs.
Of course if you prefer to do this in person, you could consider talking to a local solicitor but check you are happy with the associated costs first.
Keep in mind that once you start talking to your parents, it is also good to discuss their feelings about long term care should they need it; general finances and whether it is worth considering nominating someone to act as lasting power of attorney. My previous blog ‘Let’s talk about death baby’ will help you here.
The main thing is don’t be put off by what you perceive as the sensitive nature of the subject. It really is an important and kind thing to do for all concerned and something your parents are likely to thank you for in the end.