Writing a Will is one of the most important documents that people will write in their lifetime. However, there are a number of things your clients should be advised on afterwards to ensure their needs are met, and also to secure and protect their wishes expressed in the Will they’ve just written.
Providing this advice, and indeed the services you advise of, will position yourself as someone who goes that extra mile to protect their clients, and offering the kind of tailored service and added value that differentiates yourself from the DIY and digital will creators.
Here’s five things that your clients should be made aware of once they’ve written their Will:
They should store their Will, preferably with yourselves
Now that the client has done the most important thing, which is to write their Will and codify their wishes so that they can be realised when the time comes, they will no doubt be looking to secure their Will. This is where safe, secure Will storage comes into place – and many testators choose to store their Will with their solicitor to ensure its safety and easy action when it is needed.
By offering Will storage facilities as a law firm, you are presenting yourself as a solution not only for business right now, but retaining a client for the future. Will archive clients are a wealth of data to cross-sell other private legal work into (and not only within the private client sector), but you will also likely have them come to you first for such work without any marketing as you continue to offer them a service.
It would also be remiss not to mention that having the Will with yourselves places you in a prime position to offer your estate administration services once it is required.
The Will should be registered with The National Will Register
Once the Will’s location has been finalised, you could consider urging your clients to register that location with The National Will Register.
In a survey we undertook in 2020, two-thirds of UK adults would not know where to find their parent’s Wills or if they’d made one at all. That means that two in three people that come to deal with their parent’s estate after passing will be reliant on what they find in the home such as any correspondence found, which can be long, arduous task that could ultimately result in being none-the-wiser and then calling around local firms or The National Will Register for help in finding the Will, or assuming the estate intestate.
By registering the Will with The National Will Register, the testator’s Will is able to be easily and quickly located by those who are entitled to it when it is needed by conducting a Certainty Will Search. The searcher’s details are passed to the firm who is storing the document, and they contact the searcher if they are entitled to know the location of the Will.
Members of The National Will Register are able to register their clients’ Wills for free as part of the Essentials package, as well as conduct Certainty Will Searches. Speak to us to find out more.
They should speak to their loved ones about the Will
It’s also important for testators to inform their loved ones that a Will has been made, where it is stored, and that it is registered, so it can be found quickly at the time it is needed. If the circumstances are appropriate, your client may also consider sharing details of what is in the Will with their beneficiaries and loved ones so that they know what to expect when the Will is found. This can be particularly helpful in ensuring that time sensitive matters are attended to, such as funeral arrangements, and can also help reduce the chance of a Will being disputed in the future.
They should create a life folder
A life folder can be a great device to put in all the necessary documents required for someone to be able to handle their affairs when it is needed. This can be when someone passes or becomes unable to handle their affairs themselves but will usually include a set of documents such as the certificate of the Will’s registration, any other legal documents that they may be subject to such as powers of attorney, deeds, contracts and agreements, financial information, funeral plans and so forth.
A robust and updated life folder makes the administration of an estate and knowing the next steps for anyone using it much easier and therefore less stressful for them, and more effective for the creator in terms of their wishes being adhered to. This also helps Wills to be found more easily, meaning less chance of them being forgotten or untraced.
They should consider protecting themselves further and planning ahead
While we’re on the topic of additional documents, your Will clients may be interested in hearing more about other protections such as a Lasting Power of Attorney should they want to have some control over what would happen should they become unable to manage their own affairs. Oftentimes writing a Will is when people will consider writing an LPA as well.
This could also be said for financial and succession planning. If you offer or refer such services, Will clients are most receptive to advice on these when discussing their Wills as they are thinking about the future and protecting themselves and providing for their next of kin.