Society of will writers

Why should you use a member of The Society of Will Writers?

Why should you use a member of The Society of Will Writers rather than a solicitor to draft your Will and Lasting Power of Attorney documents?

A member of the Society of Will Writers is a fully qualified and regulated professional Will and Lasting Power of Attorney writer, who must undertake vigorous training to qualify for membership and then undergo continuous training and assessment.

  • Members continue to train on a yearly basis doing a minimum of 24 hours.
  • All members hold Professional Indemnity insurance with a minimal level cover of £2 million.
  • All members adhere to the Society of Will Writers Code of Practice and complaints procedure.
  • Members are only admitted after a stringent and robust application process.
  • Members are entitled to technical support to ensure they offer the best service to their clients.
  • Members offer a statutory cooling off period of 14 days in accordance with the Consumer Contract Regulations.

Cost – This is a big consideration as a solicitor could charge around £300 or more for a simple will. At A R K a straightforward single Will costs £125 and for couples, Mirror Wills cost £225. Lasting Powers of Attorney can be round £400 each with most solicitors. We charge £175 for one document or £300 for two at A R K.

A R K offers a personal, bespoke service and will hold appointments in the comfort of your own home. We find that our clients prefer this option, rather than attending the formal office setting for appointments, which is preferred by most solicitors.

Service – A fully qualified solicitor is unlikely to draft your Will in person. This is likely to be done by a legal clerk with far less qualifications than a qualified Will Writer with the Society of Will Writers.

Society of Will Writers members are Will-Writing specialists – not legal ‘general practitioners.’ Solicitors are not averse to people making their own Wills as they make more money out of sorting out the mess which many DIY Wills leave behind. Members of the Society of Will Writers don’t have this conflict of interest.

Specialist Advice – A Will Writer deals almost exclusively with one area of law – succession planning – and as such, we are best placed to offer specialist advice, which ensures you receive the advice which is best for you.

At A R K we offer free advice and do not charge an hourly rate like many solicitors do. We pride ourselves on a simple and transparent pricing policy that is clearly displayed on our website. We feel this is important, as you can be confident that you know in advance the exact cost. Many solicitors charge an hourly rate for advice, as well as a Will drafting fee. This, from our experience, can be around £100 per hour or more.

It is a misconception that a Will Writer cannot arrange storage of Wills. At A R K we use a safe central storage company, and recommend you register your Will on the Certainty Register as this will tell your relatives where your Will is stored when the time comes.

Contact us at A R K on 01438 746977 to get more information and help regarding making your Will or Lasting Power of Attorney.

New-year-2019

What are your New Year’s Resolutions for 2019?

Every year most of us make New Year’s Resolutions. Maybe yours are often the same – to go to the gym more, lose that weight you’ve put on over Christmas, eat more healthily and so on.

This year how about adding a new one?

‘I want to give myself and my family total peace of mind’

You can do that by making a Will, Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs), and/or by purchasing a pre-paid Funeral Plan.

Are you certain that if something happened to you, for example you had a serious accident, all your affairs would be in order – even if you lost mental capacity? Wouldn’t you like to be sure that your family would be able to access your bank accounts and deal with all your financial affairs without having to deal with any costly and lengthy court proceedings?

The only way to do that is to make a Financial LPA. People often don’t realise that even joint accounts would be frozen if mental capacity is lost, and partners would have no access to accounts unless there is an LPA in place. If you don’t have an LPA, then the only way of accessing money or selling property etc. is via the court. This takes months and ultimately could cost thousands of pounds. A simple LPA, costing just £175* for A R K to prepare for you, can save a lot of money, and perhaps more importantly, anguish for your loved ones.

What about health? The Finance LPA obviously covers all your financial affairs, but who would be able to speak on your behalf about health-related matters? Having an LPA for health in place means that if you weren’t well enough, your nominated Attorneys could speak to doctors and all other health care professionals on your behalf, as if they were you. They can also have the final say regarding life-sustaining treatment. You and your family can then be sure that your wishes would be respected.

What about a Will? Of course, everyone should have a Will, however it is particularly important in the following circumstances:

  • If you have children who are under 18. You need to appoint guardians in your Will, otherwise a court would decide who looks after your children should anything happen to you while they are young.
  • If you have a partner that you are not married to, then without a Will they are not going to inherit anything.
  • In these days of blended families with children and stepchildren, many people are not aware that stepchildren do not inherit anything unless there is a valid Will specifying that they should inherit. The only way to be certain that the people you would want to inherit your estate, actually do so, is to make a Will.
  • If you are separated but not divorced, your estranged husband or wife is still your next of kin in the eyes of the law, and therefore they could end up with everything unless you’ve made your wishes known by making a Will.

A Funeral Plan is the ultimate peace of mind for your family. There has been a lot of publicity recently about families ending up in debt because they can’t afford to pay for a loved one’s funeral. If you purchase a Funeral Plan now then whenever you die your funeral is paid for in full, and your wishes are also documented. A client of ours whose mum passed away recently said ‘I can’t believe how easy and stress-free everything was.’

One call to the Funeral Plan Company and everything is taken care of for your family. Anyone of any age can buy a Funeral Plan and prices start at £2,795. Our Dignity Plans currently have an offer of up to £340 discount on every plan. This great offer is running until April 2019. We also offer Safe Hands Funeral plans if you would prefer a Funeral Director who isn’t part of the Dignity Group. Your Funeral Plan Consultant will help you decide which plan would be best for you.

Don’t put off giving your loved ones peace of mind any longer! We understand that you may not be able to afford everything at once, so at A R K we can help you decide what is the priority for you. Make 2019 the year you get organised!

Remember we offer a clear and transparent pricing policy, and we’ll give you as much free advice as you need to help you take the worry out of those ‘what if’ situations.

Contact A R K now on 01438 746977 or email us at info@arkpowers.com to action one of your New Year’s Resolution. Probably one of the easier ones to achieve…

*An additional fee of £82 has to be paid to The Office of the Public Guardian in order to register an LPA for use.

A.R.K. house image

IMPORTANT INHERITANCE TAX LEGISLATION CHANGE – EFFECTIVE FROM 6th APRIL 2017

This is what the was announced in the 2015 Budget:

The new Residence Nil Rate Band (RNRB) will have the effect of … “taking the family home out of inheritance tax for all but the wealthiest with a new transferable nil-rate band, introduced from April 2017.  This will apply when a main residence is passed on death to direct descendants, such as a child or grandchild.  The allowance will be £100,000 in 2017-18, up to £125,000 in 2018-19, up to £150,000 in 2019-20 and up to £175,000 in 2020-21.  This is in addition to the inheritance tax nil-rate band, which is set at £325,000 for the estates of individuals.  This creates an effective £500,000 inheritance tax threshold for estates in 2020-21.  As with the current nil-rate band, any unused main residence nil-rate band will be transferred to a surviving spouse or civil partner and means the effective inheritance tax threshold will rise to £1 million in 2020-21…”

The really good news is that ‘direct descendants’ will include step-children.  It is important to note that the allowance can still be claimed if a Life Interest Trust is included in your Will (in simple terms your share of your home will go into Trust if you die first thus protecting it for your children, but your spouse will be able to stay in the house).  As long as, on second death, it will pass to direct descendants the RNRB will still be available for use with this type of Trust.

The way the ‘wealthiest’ is currently defined is anyone who has an estate exceeding £2 million (this will stay at the same level until 2020-21 when it will be increased in line with the CPI). If the net estate is more than £2 million the RNRB will be tapered away at a rate of £1 for every £2 over the taper threshold.

If you would like to know more about this change in legislation, please contact us on 01438 746977 or email info@arkpowers.com.

Making a Will: 7 Big Questions

  1. When should I make a Will?

Making a Will isn’t linked to your age. Instead, the timing of your Will is often influenced by your circumstances. We all have a time in our lives when it is sensible to make a Will – such as:

  • when you buy your first property
  • when you have your first child
  • when you get married
  • when you start living with a long-term partner

You are never too young to have peace of mind that you are protecting the ones you love by making a Will.

  1. What happens if I die without leaving a Will?

Would your estate go to the government?  No. This would only happen IF no family members could be located.

If you have family your estate would go to the closest members first, so…

  • your spouse,
  • if there is no spouse – your children/grandchildren,
  • if there are no children/grandchildren – your parents,
  • if your parents have died already – your siblings,
  • if there are no siblings – your nieces/nephews,
  • where there are none of those your half-brothers and/or sisters then their children

The possibilities go on, encompassing grandparents, your aunts and/or uncles, your cousins and finally your cousins’ children.  Only if you have NO living relatives does your estate go to the Crown.

BUT is this what you would want? A Will is the only way to make sure everything you have when you die goes where you would like it to go.  That could be close friends or charities rather than those distant relatives who you never see.

  1. What happens if I marry?

The only thing that cancels or ‘revokes’ a Will is marriage. If you get married after you have made a Will, it will no longer be valid. The way round this, if you think you may marry a long term partner, is to make your Will ‘in contemplation of marriage’. This means that throughout your Will you would refer to your fiancé/fiancée as your intended husband/wife.  This ensures that you will still have a valid Will after you get married.

  1. How long do Wills last for?

Wills are meant to be future-proof so you shouldn’t need to amend them regularly; if a Will Writer knows what they are doing they will try to ensure that you don’t need to update your Will every time you have a child or when a new grandchild is born.

  1. What happens if I am separated from my spouse?

If you are separated but not divorced and you die without a Will, your estranged spouse could inherit everything.  Probably not what you would want! Make a Will to stop that happening.

  1. What happens if I am divorced?

If you are divorced, and you made a Will whilst you were still married, your Will would be read as if your ex-spouse had died before you. Therefore, they would not receive anything they were due to receive in your Will.

  1. I have children – do I need a Will?

Making a Will is vital if you have children, as you need to make sure your wishes are known regarding who you would want to look after them if something happened to you.

If you have any other queries about making a Will – or would like to discuss the above details further, contact A.R.K. Lasting Powers & Wills. A free initial meeting without obligation – or jargon – can offer you expert information and reassurance about Wills.

Stevenage Magazine

Our first official article and advert has been published!

If you live in Stevenage you may receive the Stevenage Magazine – if so, take a look at page 20.

You will find an article explaining why everyone should consider making an LPA, along with our advert which includes a special offer! You could receive 10% discount off all prices for daytime appointments held up to 31st January 2017.

Make it your New Year resolution to finally get round to making that Will you have been putting off for ages. It really is quite a painless process and you will feel so relieved once it is done.

View our article and advert.

A.R.K & The Society of Will Writers

We are really pleased to hear that A R K has been accepted as a member of the Society of Will Writers, meaning that we can provide a fully regulated service to all our clients.

The Society of Will Writers:
“The Society of Will Writers is a non-profit making self-regulatory organisation whose primary objectives are the advancement, education and ethical standards within the will writing profession.”

Being a member of the Society of Will Writers means:

  • We are covered by Professional Indemnity Insurance, and can provide you with proof of this should you request it.
  • We maintain the strictest client confidentiality and will not pass your name to any other organisation without your permission.
  • We have been through a strict vetting procedure and continuing training to ensure that we are suitable to properly write your Will.

If you would like to find out more, please do not hesitate to contact us.