Many people think that a Will isn't important but they couldn't be more wrong!.

Letters that have been signed but not witnessed count for nothing, verbal instructions are only valid if they are given by a soldier on the battlefield!

A Will is the instrument by which money, real estate, and personal property are distributed after your death. Common Law, the system upon which some countries base their Laws, allows each of us to say freely to whom our possessions are given when we no longer need them.

In the absence of a Will that fulfills the legal requirements of clarity, pristine condition and correct attestation (signing and witnessing), the Rules of Intestacy are brought to bear. These are imposed by the government and vary from country to country and, indeed, from state to state in places like Australia and the USA and Canada.

In the UK, for instance, a limited amount (presently GBP300) is allowed to pass from husband to wife; anything over that is divided between the spouse and the children and put into trust, in other words the capital is not available. Similar Rules apply in Hong Kong, Australia, etc.

The government does not allow you to depart from this life leaving loose ends. If you don't write a will you must make do with a default version.

In some cases this can work quite well, but in a situation where there are substantial assets the opportunity to put in place some financial arrangements that will reduce the size of your estate are sacrificed and largely to the Inland Revenue unless you look at doing a Will and thinking about your tax positions. The appointment of Guardians, especially if the children are small, is essential. 

In mediaeval times in England, the 'common' people - those who owned nothing and were subservient to the aristocracy, were allowed by an Act of Parliament in the reign of King John to possess the small strips of land on which they used to grow their own crops.

Animals grazed on Common land (the property of everyone). This right was confirmed by a Title Deed which defined the boundaries of the property. With it went the right to pass the land to another person, usually a child. Of course in those days that would be the eldest son. In the passing on of property, Taxes were imposed.

Today's Wills are sophisticated documents by comparison but the principles haven't changed. willsafewillsafe01.jpgThe conscientious and responsible property owner takes the time and trouble to think about the consequences of an untimely death and provide clear instructions to his or her family so that the Will can be administered quickly and effectively.

Before you instruct your professional adviser, take time to think who you want to put in charge of administering the Will, who should be responsible for your children and what happens if your main beneficiaries die with you.

It is a job that almost everyone puts off - or perhaps puts it in the too-hard basket. It doesn't have to be a painful experience. We do our best to make the process as relaxed as possible. The peace of mind that comes knowing that this small but important job is finished is well worth the time and effort spent in completing the task.