Guest Blog by Drew Davies: Writing a Will - Help for Parents


If you don’t have a Will, you’re not alone. According to the Law Society, only 36% of British adults had written their Wills in 2014. For parents, it’s an especially easy thing to overlook. Days are busy and full (to put it mildly); you’re fit and healthy, with decades of life stretching in front of you. Why on Earth would you make a Will?

Life is nothing if not unpredictable, a fact that confronts you full on as soon as you have kids. You never know what the day will bring, and sometimes even planning from one minute to the next seems impossible.

Single parents have it even tougher because everything rests on their sole shoulders. But that makes it even more important to lay down some concrete plans so if anything were to happen, the children wouldn’t be left high and dry.



Things to Think About

Being a single parent, who would look after the children if you were no longer there? By making a Will you can name a legal guardian who will take over the role of parenting, and look after the children from day-to-day.

You can also plan their financial affairs, because under the law children can’t inherit until they reach age 18. You can make allowances to help towards their upkeep, and you can put a trust in place to safeguard their inheritance in the future. You may feel, for instance, that suddenly inheriting a sizable chunk on their 18th birthday would encourage reckless spending. In your Will, you can appoint trustees to advise and guide your children in managing their money until they reach age 21 or even 25.

The law sees stepchildren differently to your natural, biological children. If you have stepchildren to consider, you need to make particular arrangements in your Will. For one thing, you need to name them individually in order for them to share in your estate. Simply including them in a general statement regarding your children will exclude them.


Easy Ways to Make a Will

1. Find a Solicitor (an attorney for U.S. reader). If you don’t know one, ask friends or family, and if they can’t help search online on the Law Society website. They have a ‘find a solicitor’ search facility that can help you find one in your area. Going through a solicitor with experience in Will writing is your safest bet, so you know nothing is left out and every angle is covered. Especially when you’re making arrangements for minor children.

2. Do it Yourself. Not really recommended when you don’t know what you’re doing, but if you’re determined you can find templates in High Street stationers. Do your homework and learn what to include and how to word things so you don’t come unstuck.

3.Will Writing Services. These abound online and can be a useful halfway house between a solicitor and a DIY template. Take care, because they’re unregulated so there’s little protection if anything goes wrong. Choose one that belongs to The Institute Of Professional Will Writers, and look for the TSI logo on their website, which means they follow a professional standard and code of practice.


Being Charitable

As well as providing for your own children, making a Will allows you to provide for children in need generally, or any other cause close to your heart. Leaving a gift or legacy to a charity provides good causes with a valuable lifeline, and if you are used to making donations it’s nice to carry this on. 

All you need do is name the charity (along with the registered charity number) and say what you are leaving.

Taking action to make a Will is an incredibly tough thing to do. When today is too busy, it seems there is always tomorrow. But it’s one of the most caring and thoughtful actions you can take for your children. And if the worst should happen, it makes life so much easier for those left behind.


Find a Solicitor. If you don’t know one, ask friends or family, and if they can’t help search online on the Law Society website. They have a ‘find a solicitor’ search facility that can help you find one in your area. Going through a solicitor with experience in Will writing is your safest bet, so you know nothing is left out and every angle is covered. Especially when you’re making arrangements for minor children.

Do it Yourself. Not really recommended when you don’t know what you’re doing, but if you’re determined you can find templates in High Street stationers (here's a resource for U.S. parents). Do your homework and learn what to include and how to word things so you don’t come unstuck.


Will Writing Services. These abound online and can be a useful halfway house between a solicitor and a DIY template. Take care, because they’re unregulated so there’s little protection if anything goes wrong. Choose one that belongs to The Institute Of Professional Will Writers, and look for the TSI logo on their website, which means they follow a professional standard and code of practice.

**Drew writes for Unicef UK, the world's leading organisation for children in over 190 countries. For more information see their website or blogs.


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2 comments:

call me linda! said...

this was very helpful thank you.

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