Are YOU ready and willing?

Posted Nov 27, 2018.

Why making a will is so important


Let me tell you a story. It happened at Christmas time about ten years ago.

I was sitting in my Solicitor’s office when a good friend of mine called me and asked if I could write his Will for him. He had been divorced for a few years and rebuilt his life. He had a new partner, they lived together and they had a young baby. He had a good job. He saw his older child and step children from his previous marriage regularly, and all was going swimmingly. He knew it was a good idea to get his Will written, but hadn’t done it yet. He was 41 after all, and fit and well.

Over the phone I explained what aspects we would need to cover in his Will and gave him some pointers. We were only a few days before the working world stops to enjoy the Christmas break, so I was a little concerned about getting his Will written before the holidays, but I knew it was possible. During our chat it transpired that he didn’t know what he wanted to put in his Will and needed to consider it further. I asked him when he needed it by. He laughed and said “There’s no rush. I’m not planning on going anywhere”.

The sad fact was, he did go somewhere. I never spoke with him again. 

That 41 year old seemingly healthy adult male passed away between Christmas and New Year in frankly bizarre circumstances, through a mild, latent and distant illness which otherwise had not affected him for three years.And I confess that at his funeral my mind was thinking about his partner. And his child.

I knew he hadn’t decided on what he wanted in his Will, so I knew he had died without one.  And being a lawyer I had a sense of foreboding about what was likely to be in store for his grieving family.And sadly, I was right.

For the next few years his partner had to handle not only the grief of losing him, but also of dealing with a claim on his estate. She faced losing her shared home. My friend’s ex-wife had made a claim against it.Now I am not saying that the ex-wife shouldn’t have done that, but the fact is, had my late friend got around to making his Will, it would have been harder for his ex-wife to have done so, and indeed she may have felt it was unnecessary as he would have made provision for his older children in his Will.

Thousands of pounds in legal fees, years of stress and uncertainty, and a big chunk of estate could possibly have been saved by making a simple Will.Sometimes I am told by prospective clients “I don’t need a Will yet”. I marvel at their certainty of life. Clearly they know something. Or do they?

So, when it comes to you, are you ready and willing?

For more information contact Simon, our Estate Planning Manager, on (01252) 744637 or email now to simon.speed@bakerssolicitors.com.