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Wills post divorce - use the free service or go to a solicitor?

(25 Posts)
lemonandhoney Wed 29-Jun-11 17:29:47

I need to get a new will drafted following my divorce. It isn’t particularly tricky – or rather, I don’t think it is.

I want to leave everything to the children, apart from some jewellery to my sister. I want the capital to be out of their reach until they get to 21. Both grandfathers will act as executors and trustees of the money. They would hand it out to my ex husband as needed.

I have a life insurance policy which covers my current earnings. That would more than cover any extra costs my ex would incur through the children living with him, particularly as he would no longer be paying maintenance. It’s set up to pay a monthly sum, so that would be income for the purposes of supporting the children. There is a fair bit of equity in the house (which is in my name), some modest savings and a death in service lump sum.

I assume this is fairly standard. My bank offers a free will writing service as part of my current account, but I have no idea whether these services are any good. Do I get them to do the will, then take it to a solicitor for checking, go to a specialist will writer, or ask my solicitor (who has recommended the partner in the firm who deals with wills, but they are far from cheap). I really don’t want to spend money unnecessarily as am fairly broke post-divorce and have effectively already paid for the bank-drafted will in terms of current account fees, but equally don’t want something that is worthless.

Any advice would be most welcome

mumblechum1 Wed 29-Jun-11 18:30:59

The thing about using a bank is that they'll often want you to name them as executors which is extremely expensive.

You really need a straightforward will which will revoke any previous will, appoint two executors and trustees, and if you like, you could also appoint a default guardian to act in the event that your ex predeceases you.

You rightly say that you also need a clause allowing whoever looks after your children to be reimbursed (although strictly, you could skip that if they'd go to their dad).

The death in service lump sum will not be counted in for Inheritance Tax purposes.

I'm a will writer and have an ad. over on the Small Business section of Mumsnet Classified, titled "Will Writing Service recommended by Mumsnetters" if you'd like more info.

nocake Wed 29-Jun-11 21:01:43

Read this article before considering allowing your bank to write your will.

Am I allowed to recommend Mumblechum's service?

mumblechum1 Wed 29-Jun-11 21:08:02

No, nocake under no circumstances may you recommend my services grin (btw I have no clue who you are as I don't cross ref. nicknames with clients' real names)

mumblechum1 Wed 29-Jun-11 21:09:12

I have never, and will never, ask to be named as an Executor (I know the fees are good but frankly find probate more than a teensy bit boring) wink

lemonandhoney Wed 29-Jun-11 22:26:10

Thank you. The form I have from the website gives me the option of appointing someone else to act as executor, rather than the bank, which is good. But they don't say that the fees are astronomical (4.5% of the estate!!)

Is the "putting things in trust" element quite straightforward? I always assume trusts are hugely complex things.

I will give it some thought. Perhaps I'm better off just spending the money and getting it done properly.

sneezecakesmum Thu 30-Jun-11 00:11:30

To be honest, wills are not particularly expensive in the solicitors fees grand scheme of things and your will actually is not straightforward at all!

A straightforward will is when you have a house and an adult child that you could leave that house to when you die. Young children, trust funds, ongoing payments mean things must be watertight.

mumblechum1 Thu 30-Jun-11 07:06:52

Your assets would indeed be placed into a trust, and if you died before your youngest child was 18, 21 or whatever age you have chosen for them to inherit, then the executors would look after the money in a trust fund. They would decide where the money was invested, and this could be something as simple as a savings account with both executors being cosignatories or a collection of investments such as stocks and shares, bonds, instant access savings and longer notice period savings.

If you died after the children are 18, 21 or whatever, then the trust does not arise and the executors pay the residuary estate to them as soon as practicably possible, ie after they've sold your assets and paid any debts, funeral expenses, inheritance tax etc.

Putting your estate into a trust is going to happen automatically if your will is made by a solicitor or professional will writer, and you make your will whilst your children are minor. The wording is actually very brief, as these days we don't put reams of clauses in to say precisely how the trust is to be set up; we simply refer to the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioner standard rules and regulations.

lemonandhoney Thu 30-Jun-11 07:18:55

Ok. Decision made. Will do this properly, no messing about with the bank. Thanks everyone!

mumblechum1 Thu 30-Jun-11 07:47:18


mumoverseas Thu 30-Jun-11 11:32:07

I'd steer well clear of the bank too and would recommend mumblechum <makes mental note to get off arse and get mumblechum to draft new will>

mumblechum1 Thu 30-Jun-11 12:38:54

<<waves at MOS whilst prodding her very very gently with a not very sharp stick>>

mumoverseas Thu 30-Jun-11 14:47:37

yes yes I know, stop nagging wink Frantically packing 5 years of my live into a few suitcases as back to the UK tomorrow and will contact you then about making a new will grin You know what its like, us lawyers are the worst. Do as I say, not as I do!

mumblechum1 Thu 30-Jun-11 16:27:36

Wooooh, back to the UK tomorrow! That'll be lovely.

mumoverseas Thu 30-Jun-11 16:31:17

grin I know, freedom to drive, wear skimply clothes (not that I want to but I can), drink pimms and lurverly wine and eat bacon sandwiches! need to namechange though or I'll be flamed for misrepresentation wink

mumblechum1 Thu 30-Jun-11 16:33:23

Get changed into your hotpants and skimpy vest on the plane.

You know you want to.

mumblechum1 Thu 30-Jun-11 20:23:42

Sorry OP for hijacking your thread!

ToothbrushThief Wed 06-Jul-11 23:18:25

Also recommending Mumblechum...

ToothbrushThief Wed 06-Jul-11 23:18:48

She won't have a clue who I am possibly?

HopeEternal Wed 06-Jul-11 23:24:18

Are you recently returned to the UK, TT?

HauntedLittleLunatic Wed 06-Jul-11 23:31:13

Which bank. I am with Barclays and they offer this with their 'additions'account.

With their will writing service you can do it by post if it is straightforward. Alternatively they will pay up to a certain amount towards solicitors costs. So you could get it done 'properly' but have the bank contribute towards cost. Might be worth looking into.

mumblechum1 Thu 07-Jul-11 16:21:10

Hello Toothbrush Thief!

No, sorry haven't a clue but I like all my Mumsnet clients!

eekamouse2 Mon 11-Jul-11 13:43:55

I really need to get my act together to do my will mumblechum but I can't see your advert anywhere.

mumblechum2 Mon 11-Jul-11 14:20:56

Hi, if you go to "talk", there is a great long list of topics.

Go to the sixth one down (Classified), then across that line to Small Business Ads.

Mine's the second one down, headed "Will Writing Service recommended by Mumsnetters".


mumblechum2 Mon 11-Jul-11 21:20:51

Thanks for your email. Have mailed you back smile

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