As part of my marketing strategy to promote my blogging business, I spend some of my time networking. As a result, I have met some wonderful people working in all sorts of businesses. With my innate interest in “all things business” I invited Susan Barnes, a Will Writer, to tell me her business story. Here it is…
Susan Barnes’ will writing story started in the banking sector, where she was targeted with the goal of writing twenty-four wills in twelve months. Susan likes a challenge but this target ignited an energy that would set the path for her subsequent career. She quadrupled her twelve month goal and discovered that she had both the flair and a passion for writing wills, which nestled neatly with her natural interest in genealogy.
On her will writing journey, Susan worked with an Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) and then a solicitors’ practice while she trained and then qualified as a will writer. She is now an independent will writer operating under the APS Legal and Associates brand, offering advice on wills, estate planning, Lasting Powers of Attorneys (LPA’s) and probate. She is also an associate member of the Institute of Professional Willwriters, which safeguards the public from unethical and unqualified will writing practices.
When do people make a will?
Wills are all about family and relationships. Some of Susan’s clients might recently have been bereaved, their relationship status has changed or they might have started a family. Alternatively, people might be considering their pension provision or seeking a mortgage; preparing a will is a natural extension of these activities.
What if you die without a will?
With the recent popularity of TV programmes such as ‘Heir Hunters’, ‘Long Lost Family’ and ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ the public are more aware of the significance of wills. Wills are used to nominate one or more people to manage the estate, and to provide for the distribution of property after a person has deceased. ‘Dying intestate’ (without a will) invokes the rules of intestacy which means that only married or civil partners and some close relatives can inherit, which may or may not have been the wishes of the intestate person.
Tell me about Susan’s will writing process
Susan will visit you in the informal setting and comfortable atmosphere of your own home. She will take you through a straightforward and empathetic process to help you consider what you want to happen to your possessions and wealth when you pass away. If you then agree to work with Susan, she will follow up with drafts of your wills along with commentary to ensure you fully understand the terms of your will.
Susan told me that her clients are often anxious about the content of the initial meeting and the direction it might take. There might be complicated family disputes involved which add to the tension. Susan takes great care to give each potential client the time they need to talk about these issues in the privacy of their own home and in complete confidence. When she leaves their home, they invariably tell her she has taken a weight off their minds and the process was a lot easier than they had anticipated.
A mine of information
I found Susan to be a mine of information when it comes to will writing, estate planning and probate. I came away with key pieces of little-known information about wills from our meeting plus some important expert advice.
– If you are divorced, your will still stands. Your ex-spouse is treated as having died on the day of the decree absolute, but his/her family could still stand to inherit under the existing will. This is a time of reassessment; wishes and assets often change as a result of divorce. This is a good time to prepare a new will to reflect the new status and circumstances.
– If you are single or cohabiting, when you do marry your will becomes invalid unless you have covered this event off in your will. The advice is to incorporate an “intention of a marriage” clause to a specified person within your will.
– If you are a married couple and you will to each other, you should think further than your own children as ultimate beneficiaries. If your children would ultimately inherit, you should consider what your wishes might be if you were all to pass away at the same time due to a tragically sad event. Consider the painful but abstract “What if?” scenario in the will, and decide who would inherit should your ultimate beneficiaries not be alive.
What about Susan’s other services?
Susan offers estate planning, Lasting Powers of Attorneys (LPA’s) and also probate. You might be interested in her LPA’s and will writing combined package. Susan’s probate services might also be useful; acting as an executor is an onerous task. It might be worth knowing that a professional can be appointed to carry out these processes.
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