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.

Christmas Gift

Inheritance Tax: Christmas Gift Guide

Happy Christmas to you all!!

Did you realise that you could use this time of year to make gifts which will reduce your liability to Inheritance Tax? We thought we’d prepare a little guide about what you can give away whilst still keeping the taxman happy…

A lot of people don’t realise that Inheritance Tax may have to be paid on their estate when they pass away. This can be 40% of everything over the tax-free threshold (currently set at £325,000). Given that the average price of a property in Hertfordshire is over £500,000 it’s easy to exceed those limits!

However there’s a simple way to reduce this liability, and help your family have an extra special Christmas at the same time.

  • Did you realise that you can give away £3,000 worth of gifts to your family and friends each tax year – this amount is immediately removed from the value of your estate?
  • You can also give as many small gifts of up to £250 to as many people as you want (as long as they haven’t also received part or all of the £3,000 mentioned above).
  • Additionally you can give gifts out of your income. For example, Christmas and Birthday presents – but you must be able to maintain your standard of living after making the gifts.
  • If any of your family or friends are getting married soon, don’t forget you can give a cash gift which immediately reduces the value of your estate for Inheritance Tax purposes. You can give your child up to £5,000, your grandchild up to £2,500 and you can gift anyone else who is getting married up to £1,000.
  • There are certain people and organisations you can make unlimited gifts to without paying Inheritance Tax. These include:
    • Your husband, wife or civil partner provided they live in the UK.
    • Charities registered in the UK.
    • Some national organisations like universities, museums and the National Trust.

Please note that new rules and thresholds regarding passing your property to your children were introduced in April 2016. If you would like more information regarding gifts or Inheritance Tax thresholds then visit www.gov.uk.

We hope that’s given you some food for thought…

If you can’t spend it yourself, the next best thing to do is to give away what you can to reduce the likely Inheritance tax bill on your estate. Why don’t you use this Christmas to help your family, friends and your favourite charities and reduce your Inheritance Tax liability at the same time?

You can of course make bigger gifts but then you have to live a certain period before the gift is treated as not belonging to you in it’s entirety (commonly known as the 7 year rule).

At A R K we specialise in offering free advice on anything related to Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Funeral Plans and Probate. Do ring us on 01438 746977 or email us at info@arkpowers.com for more information.