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DIY Wills and Letters of Wishes – A podcast with Jason Butler

DIY Wills and Letters of Wishes – A podcast with Jason Butler

Welcome to Age Space Money, the podcast that gives you insight, ideas and perspectives on elderly care and finance. This podcast is presented to you by Annabel James, founder of Age Space, which is an online community for anyone looking after, or supporting, an elderly parent; and Jason Butler, financial wellbeing expert and author of  “Money Moments: Simple Steps to Financial Wellbeing“.

In this 6th episode Annabel and Jason discuss the topic of writing a Will. Jason shares his insight on whether it’s worth writing your own Will, what happens if you don’t have a Will, and everything you need to be keeping in mind.

You can also find this Age Space Podcast episode and more on Apple Podcasts.

Jason questions why we are so reluctant to write our own Wills

For many people, writing their own Will means confronting their own mortality; it’s not just about dying, people also don’t like the idea of getting old!

You can now write a Will in less than 20 minutes, for under £50.00, using an online Will-writing service – this is generally not appropriate for people with complex needs, multiple family issues or who have significant assets. However, if you die intestate, you have no say over who gets what, where from, and when.

Jason explains what happens if someone dies without a Will

If you die without having written a Will, this is known as dying intestate. In this scenario, government legislation on the rules of intestacy at the given time will determine how your assets are distributed after your death.

If you have a spouse or siblings, there is new legislation that determines the order of which and how much each person will get. The point is that the government takes control of your assets, and this won’t necessarily reflect what you want to happen, or what’s right for the family.

Jason discusses how you can encourage elderly parents to write their Will

Reassure them that they can create a Will that is completely flexible. It is also in their best interests.

They will need to identify who they want the executors and trustees to be, and any guardians if needed. Your executors decide what to do with your assets when you die.

You can write a letter of wishes to sit alongside the Will – this spells out your wishes and thoughts to the executors on what your approach would be to administering your assets, or how you would administer them if you were still alive.

Ask your lawyer whether you should write a letter of wishes to go alongside your Will – you can update this letter as much as you like, without changing the Will.

Jason's top 4 tips for writing a Will

  1. Make a list of all of your assets – financial, physical and digital.
  2. Choose your executors very carefully – these should be either people you know and trust, or a local law firm, as opposed to the bank.
  3. Make sure you execute your Will properly with two independent witnesses.
  4. Make sure you tell the relevant people where the original Will is!

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