A Client’s story
I didn’t need much motivation when it came to drafting my first Will shortly after my son was born. But now, 21 years later, he’s finished university and working full time. But, despite the change in our circumstances, we were still dragging our feet on updating our Wills to cover the changes to our life.
“I think people still have trouble thinking about their own mortality,” Eli Pressman, the Will writer helping to update our Wills told us. And the only purpose of a Will is to deal with issues involving your death.
Let’s start with the Will my wife and I prepared when our son was born. We were both working and had pension plans, some savings and life insurance but we were not wealthy by any definition. Obviously, if I died, I wanted everything to go to my wife. That is all of the assets and all of the responsibilities. But the hardest decisions were about control. Who would be responsible to bring up our little boy in the event that we both died as a result of an accident? And who would take care of the money we had left for him?
A lot of the time people considering a Will are only thinking it’s about, who will get my money? But it’s a lot more complicated than that. Most people don’t think about having to decide between a sister or a brother-in-law, or who’s going be the guardian.”
Back to the present. We first met with Eli about two years ago, when our son was about to turn 21. He told us what was involved in drafting a new Will: selecting trustees and executors, dealing with inheritance tax and maybe setting up a trust. We waffled, met with a couple of other solicitors & Will writers, and put the task back on the to-do list, where it sat for a few weeks. Eli rang and motivated us to try again.
Eli explained the new issues we’d have to consider, such as the possibility that we’ll have a daughter-in-law one day, and maybe even grandchildren. This potential future family ought to be accounted for even before we even know who they are. “You want to protect your bloodline and not have your son’s inheritance at risk to your daughter-in-law walking off with your money if the marriage doesn’t work out.” I’d heard stories like these before but didn’t realise you could do something about it. Knowing our life’s work will never leave our direct family is a relief.
And even though we believe our son is sensible and streetwise, we wouldn’t want him to suddenly find himself with an inheritance he could easily blow. So, at Eli’s suggestion, we have established terms in our trusts for a trustee who would give him access to the money at three stages over the next few decades, if we’re not here to spend it ourselves.
My wife and I also had Eli draw up Lasting Power of Attorney documents for both of us.
Eli explained the problems if one, or both, of us were to lose capacity as a result of an accident or illness. My wife’s mother suffered dementia in her later years so this was always at the back of our mind.
Eli was extremely helpful and paid close attention to our concerns unlike the other professionals who, frankly, talked down to us. Today we sleep well knowing that, should anything happen to us, we will not leave behind a financial mess.