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Is it normal to not understand your Will?

(32 Posts)
MyFabulousBoys Mon 24-Mar-14 15:04:03

We are having mirror wills written by an acquaintance. angry There have been two huge mistakes in the second draft although we were clear in our interview and a subsequent email.

I also find the language so complex and inaccessible. I have A level English and still don't understand a lot of what has been written so feel unsure checking the accuracy of the rest! I have no confidence in him now.

Is it really necessary for wills to be written like this? I am beginning to think he may just be copying an old will he has found.

I also resent the hard sell about trusts that he keeps pushing.

The problem is he is an acquaintance and we can't avoid him. If he were he a stranger I would ask for our money back and change to someone else but this could get messy. blush

firesidechat Mon 24-Mar-14 16:38:50

Does this friend have any legal knowledge at all or experience of will writing? If not then I would be looking elsewhere. A will is the most important legal document you will ever have and well worth getting an expert.

We haven't looked at our wills for years, so I can't remember quite how incomprehensible they are.

ihatethecold Mon 24-Mar-14 16:48:47

It's very important that the life insurance you have in written in trust.
This means it's exempt from inheritance tax. It also means your loved ones will be able to access the money much quicker.
You should be able to understand your will especially if they are mirror wills as they are fairly straight forward.

This is a very important document, I would be going elsewhere.

eurochick Mon 24-Mar-14 16:50:10

I would go elsewhere. You should be able to understand your will.

AdoraBell Mon 24-Mar-14 16:53:43

Don't be pressured into having this person writing your Wills, it is far too important To keep quiet in order To keep the peace.

So it could Get ugly if you decline this person's services, would it be better if it gets ugly when the Wills are read?

And yes, you should be able to understand your Will.

MyFabulousBoys Mon 24-Mar-14 18:52:52

Thanks all.

He actually owns a will writing company which is why I am surprised at his mistakes!

I'm going to ask him to rewrite making it more understandable and correcting his mistakes. Otherwise I want a refund.

He wants more money for putting things in trust. I'm not happy to spend anymore with him.

Thanks again.

ihatethecold Mon 24-Mar-14 19:57:45

Do you mean the life insurance in trust?
That should be done by the insurer and will be free!

MyFabulousBoys Mon 24-Mar-14 20:31:20

Really Ilove?

I didn't know that! Can I just contact my life insurance company and ask them to do it?

Alibabaandthe40nappies Mon 24-Mar-14 20:33:57

Indeed you can.

Your acquaintance is ripping you off!

Have you paid him up front? Surely not...

Sneezecakesmum Mon 24-Mar-14 20:52:30

Trust funds are expensive and have ongoing running costs maybe that's why he's pushing them.

Viviennemary Mon 24-Mar-14 20:55:00

I'd go elsewhere and get a law firm who specialises in wills. I don't think it's a good idea to have a friend doing this even if that is supposed to be his business. It's better to have somebody completely impartial who doesn't know you.

zipzap Mon 24-Mar-14 21:14:46

Oh and make sure he isn't insisting on being an executor and thus being able to rip off the estate in fees later on...

I was reading a while ago about some banks and solicitors that were 'kindly' suggesting that you name them as one of the executors to save hassle for your heirs. But they would then charge lots, and might be really inconvenient to get to or provide a bad service etc and there wasbugger all you could do about it as they were named in the will. Much better to appoint (with their agreement!) friend's, relatives etc who can then shop around and get their own advisors as required - and fire them if they are rubbish.

I'd say the red flags are flying - for a reason. Listen to your gut when you feel uncomfortable with him. Have any other mutual friend's/acquaintances used him and also had problems? can you check him out through his professional body? If he's made major errors in the second draft - that doesn't smack of competence or professionalism.

I'd say that He is relying on the fact that you know each other and will be terribly British and not kick up a fuss if you're not happy. Take a deep breath and then say what you really think. Maybe give him one last chance to sort it out but really - do you even want that?

There's somebody on mn who is a will writer and often posts advice (she also advertises on here- I haven't used her - but others have so think she is genuine and she seems to provide sensible advice.

Good luck!

Alibabaandthe40nappies Mon 24-Mar-14 21:28:45

Sneeze simply placing a life insurance policy in trust costs nothing and attracts no ongoing costs.

yy - mumblechum is the MNer who writes wills. We used her, she is very professional, explained everything and she doesn't bill until AFTER you have received her work and are happy with it!

OP out of interest, how much has this guy charged you?

mumblechum1 Mon 24-Mar-14 21:47:53

flowers Alibaba,

As previous posters have said, life insurance is usually written into trust by the insurance company so that it doesn't' fall within the estate and therefore attract inheritance tax. This can make a massive difference to most people whose Death in Service benefit may run into several hundred thousand pounds, so the tax is significant.

So far as the clarity of the will is concerened, I always provide a plain English breakdownn of each clause. Some legalese is unavoidable, but your will writer is not doing his job if you are not absolutely clear on exactly what your will says.

So far as charges go, I personally charge £170 for a pair of standard wills. Some will charge more, some less but you must use someone who's a member of either the Institute of Professional Willwriters or the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.

There are an awful lot of cowboy willwriters out there who frankly haven't a clue.

JaneinReading Mon 24-Mar-14 21:48:04

Is he a solicitor?
Secondly easy to put your life insurance in a trust - form from the insurer - no charge.
Also if you have a personal pension fund worth putting that in trust for the children (if no spouse) - mine is done like that - so that is outside of inheritance tax.

On the terms you would expect it to say who inherits, then who inherits if the spouse is dead, who are guardians for the children, if you want to be buried or cremated then a lot of general legal stuff. Could you not look at a few other wills on line and compare with what he has written?

As people say check who will be executor. I would suggest the children if over 18 and then they at the time can decide if they want to do it or pay someone to do it. Best to have a few names (my siblings and I were for my father's).

mumblechum1 Mon 24-Mar-14 21:48:50

Sorry for my atrocious typing I'm freezing and my fingers are numb!

Sneezecakesmum Tue 25-Mar-14 21:46:33

Alibaba. I know about the insurance companies and trusts etc. OP just says 'he wants more money for putting things in trust' not 'insurance policies'

Putting savings, cash etc into a trust for someone's future can cost a fair bit.

Maybe I've misunderstood it?

MyFabulousBoys Tue 25-Mar-14 22:41:32

Alibaba - I didn't pay up front but DH did.... I know, I know. We were stupid. £120 I think.

Sneezecakes - Yes, that is my suspicion. However, I will check with our life insurance company as I didn't know it could be in trust.

Vivenne - I totally agree.

Zipzap - there has been not suggestion of them acting as executors and I wouldn't dream of it. We've had a bad experience with family members as executors and I am dithering a bit and wondering if we should ask friends. I also agree with you that he is relying on "not making a fuss" type behaviour.

Mumblechum - you were my choice actually but it seemed a bit bizarre to trust you more than someone we knew. Bonkers eh?! Am going to check credentials now. I'm also going to ask for more accessible language.

Jane - thanks for that info. Going to contact the life insurance people. WIth regard to executors. DC have SN so not possible. Beginning to doubt family choice too... Unsure now!

Thanks all. thanks

mumblechum1 Tue 25-Mar-14 22:43:54

grin OP, I know you don't know me, but tbh you probably would have been better off instructing me as apart from anything else I never bill people till they've confirmed that they're 100% happy with their will!

Not to worry, hope you get it sorted.

Sneezecakesmum Wed 26-Mar-14 11:37:42

Mumblechum did me too!

She's great!


IamtheZombie Wed 26-Mar-14 11:48:13

"Mumblechum did me too!"

You might want to re-phrase that a bit, Sneezecakes.

<Zombie chortles>

On a serious note, Zombie had advice from mumblechum about probate for MIL's estate and she is fabulous.

JaneinReading Wed 26-Mar-14 13:29:43

Be careful over executors. I spent 100 hours on my father's will (his estate was complex) after he died. I was very glad we were not paying a professional to do it. In our case we 3 siblings were executors but the others "let" me do it (big burden actually not exactly a thrill) which I was happy to do as I am a lawyer (but certainly not a probate lawyer).

Family can always in the will as executors and then at the time if they don't want to they can pass it to someone who is paid to do it.

traviata Wed 26-Mar-14 13:39:18

another satisfied mumblechum customer here.

elpth Wed 26-Mar-14 13:48:48

We keep intending to make wills but don't know where to start. I just logged onto mumblechum's website (thinking hurray!) but she only does England and Wales. Can anyone recommend a will writer in Scotland, ideally Edinburgh?

BobCrow Wed 26-Mar-14 20:47:07

elpth, I don't know any will writers in edinburgh but can highly recommend Nikki Dundas at Balfour and Manson solicitors.

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