The importance of planning ahead We understand that writing a Will can feel daunting, which is why it’s easy to put it off. We’re here to help, guide and support you. It’s actually a very easy process and, once it’s in place, you can relax knowing that, if anything should happen to you, all your affairs are in order. If you don’t detail your wishes in a legally valid Will, unfortunately, the state has to decide who inherits your assets (possessions, money, property and investments), and if you have children under the age of 18, they will also decide how they will be cared for and educated. If you lose your mental capacity, the state will make decisions about your welfare and finances during your lifetime, unless you’ve already appointed someone to do this for you by putting appropriate Lasting Powers of Attorney in place. You can read more about Lasting Powers of Attorney below. Making a Will and putting Lasting Powers of Attorney in place are known collectively as ‘Estate Planning’ – together they enable you to have some control over your future and protect yourself and your family’s interests. Close All Open All What is included in a Will? By making a Will you can feel reassured that you have: Specified who you would like to look after your children under 18 years of age Specified who should carry out the terms of your Will Specified people and/or charities to benefit from your estate Protected against residential care costs Protected against Inheritance tax costs Put provisions in place to protect vulnerable or disabled beneficiaries Stated your funeral wishes Making a Will not only gives you peace of mind but also eases the burden on loved ones and provides them with reassurance that, after your death, they are doing exactly what you would want. Our Estate Management partners are also specialists in Care Cost planning and Inheritance Tax mitigation, so, we these things in mind, they can put the right Will in place for your circumstances. Who needs to make a Will Quite simply, everyone should have a Will in place to ensure their possessions and assets are distributed in a way that they would choose and that children are cared for by the people they would like. For some people, detailing wishes and putting plans in place in a Will is particularly important. These include: Single parents Co-habiting couples People in a second marriage/relationship Parents of disabled or vulnerable children Business owners We have chosen to work with an Estate Management partner that has experience and expertise in creating Wills for both straightforward and more complicated situations and will create a Will that fits with your needs. What are Lasting Powers of Attorney? Lasting Powers of Attorney are legal documents that detail what you would like to happen to your health, care and finances if you lose the capacity to make decisions for yourself. Common ways that affect people’s capacity to make their own decisions are suddenly becoming affected by a stroke or developing dementia. There are 2 types of Lasting Power of Attorney: Health & Welfare Finance Both allow you to appoint someone to deal with your affairs if you are unable to do so such as: Deciding on the care you need, who it is delivered by and important decisions such as life-sustaining treatment Paying your bills, making investment decisions on your behalf and managing your property It is important to note that you can only put Lasting Powers of Attorney in place when you are capable of understanding the documents. Once you have lost the ability, Lasting Powers of Attorney cannot be put in place. Why are Lasting Powers of Attorney important? Having Lasting Powers of Attorney in place means that if you become unable to make decisions for yourself, the people you trust can make decisions on your behalf in accordance with your stated wishes. Relatives do not have an automatic legal say in decisions that affect you once you’ve lost capacity. Without Lasting Powers of Attorney in place, if you lose capacity, the government will make decisions about your care, possessions and finances on your behalf. By detailing your wishes and appointing Lasting Powers of Attorney, your loved ones will know what decisions to make at what can be a difficult time, providing you all with peace of mind. Who needs Lasting Powers of Attorney? When you are young, fit and healthy, it can be hard to envisage needing someone to make decisions on your behalf. Sadly, accidents happen and medical conditions can appear unexpectedly so, in reality, putting Lasting Powers of Attorney in place are important for everyone People tell us that they feel relieved and reassured once they have them in place – they know that they are in control of their future even if they lose capacity and they will ease the burden on their loved ones by being clear about what they would like to happen. FAQs How much does it cost to make a Will? Through our Estate Planning partner, we can offer fixed prices at competitive rates. If you’d like to have a chat with an advisor, they will help you understand which Will is right for you. You can call them directly on 0800 612 9262 or click here to arrange a call at a time to suit you. They will be happy to advise you free of charge without obligation. If you’d like an indication of the type of Will that suits your circumstances and the likely price you’ll pay, before you speak with an advisor, you can click here to complete the simple questionnaire. Type of Estate Planning Price (incl. VAT) Simple Will for one person £199 Mirror Will for two people £329 Trust Will for one person £329 Mirror Trust Will for two people £599 Storage From £2.75 a month What happens if there isn’t a Will? If someone dies without a Will, they are said to be intestate. The intestacy rules will say who can apply to administer the estate: In most cases it will be your spouse or civil partner, If you don’t have a spouse then it is your children, If you do not have children then it is your parents, If your parents are not alive or available, then it is your siblings After that, it falls to nieces, nephews, uncles, aunts, cousins and then finally the Treasury Solicitor. The rules also lay down who will inherit and exactly what, so you cannot assume that your spouse or civil partner will get everything. You should also note that the intestacy rules make no provision at all for unmarried partners. What happens in the first phone call (the free consultation)? Making a Will is easy, and an expert advisor will be with you every step of the way. During the initial conversation, you’ll be asked a series of simple questions about your circumstances, such as whether you are married or in a civil partnership, whether you own a business, or have children from a previous relationship. You won’t need to have any specific information available at this point and the responses you give to the questions will enable the advisor to determine which type of Will you need. You’ll also be able to ask any questions that you might have. The call should only take a few minutes and at the end you can make an appointment for a longer phone (or video) call during which a Wills specialist will ‘take your instructions’ so that they can draft your Will. When you book your second call, Will & Probate Services will send you their ‘Preparing for your Will appointment’ information pack. What questions will I be asked when making a Will? The second call is to ‘take your instructions’. During this call, you’ll be asked about your circumstances including your assets (investments and possessions) and who you want to inherit your things. You’ll also be asked about who you want your Executors to be (the people who make sure your instructions are carried out). You may also be asked questions such as who you want to be the legal guardians of any children you have under 18, or how you want your business to operate in the future. The advisor may also speak with you about inheritance tax or planning for care costs if it is relevant to your circumstances. How long does it take to make a Will? This depends on your circumstances, but the conversation to take instructions should last between 30 minutes and an hour. Following the second conversation your will is drafted and checked by a legal professional before being shared with you on a secure portal that you can log in to. You’ll be able to check the details and confirm they are right before the Will documents are printed and posted out to you for signature. This can take around 5 days in total and longer if you want to make changes during the process. What is the process for making a Will? The first step is to take your instructions (what you want to happen to your things and who should deal with your affairs). Once your instructions are taken you’ll be asked to sign a letter of engagement and make payment. Your Will is then drafted and checked by a legal professional before being shared with you on a secure portal (or posted out) for you to check. When you are happy with it, you’ll be sent a printed copy, which you will need to sign and have witnessed, in order for the Will to be ‘legal’. Don’t worry, you will be given full instructions for signing it. You’ll also be able to view and download the digital copy (draft version) from the portal for your records. How do I update my Will and how much does it cost? If you decide to have your Will stored for you you’ll be able to make minor amendments (names, addresses, simple changes, the proportion of inheritance shared by people etc) for free. If you need to make fundamental changes, you may need to make a new Will. Where do I store my Will? You can choose where to store your Will – either at home, with a trusted family member or friend, or at a place of secure storage. It’s important to remember that wherever your store it, you need to let your executors know so they can find it when they need to. UK Legal Storage are a part of the Will & Probate Services group and can store your Will for as little as £2.75 a month. Wherever you choose to store your Will, Will & Probate Services will inform your Executors of their duties and provide them with guidance on what they need to do to carry out your instructions. They also register your Will with Certainty, the national Will register at no extra cost meaning it will never be lost. What is a Mirror Will? A mirror Will is a pair of Wills for two people with the same intentions (usually a couple with shared assets) Does my partner need to attend the appointment if we want to make Mirror Wills? Yes, you’ll both need to attend the appointment where instructions are taken, and you’ll both need to sign your individual Will and have it witnessed to make it legal. What is a Trust Will? A Trust Will is a Will that caters for particular circumstances. You’ll need a trust Will for example if you are co-habiting but not married / in a civil partnership, if you have children by a previous relationship, are a single parent, are worried about future care costs, and/ or own your own business. You’ll be able to find out which Will is right for you when you speak with an advisor. How do the values of the Estate Planning Provider fit with CEC’s values? At Central England Co-operative, it’s important to us and our customers to make the right choices. So when we were looking for an expert partner to help our customers with Will and Probate Services, it was imperative that they shared our principles and values. Our chosen Estate Planning partner not only offers expert advice, fixed, competitive prices and rewards for our Members (anyone is welcome to become a member – to find out more, click here), they also plant a tree for every customer. So you can know that you are making the right choice for you, your family and the environment.