An hour in the day of a solicitor – meeting with client “Mr A” regarding his Will

S:          So, Mr A, you would like to make a Will.  I see you have completed our Will questionnaire.  This confirms:

  • you are married with three young children;
  • your estate comprises a house in your name valued at £250,000 and you have savings of £75,000; and
  • you want to leave everything to your children.

Mr A:   Correct.  All to my children.

S:          How will your wife manage and where will she live if you predecease her?

Mr A:   She will be OK – she will find somewhere.

S:          Do you realise that she will be able to make a claim against your estate – as you have not provided for her?

Mr A:   Oh!  I thought she would benefit under the Intestacy Rules.

S:          Sorry, but these Rules ONLY apply if you die leaving NO Will.

Mr A:   I wish to leave all to my children but do not want my wife to make a claim.  So what would you advise?

S:          Apart from the potential claim your wife could make, you will need to establish a trust for your children.  They are all under 18 (infants) and therefore legally your executors have to look after the children’s entitlement to your estate until they are 18 – or whatever age you specify.

Mr A:   I do not want to set up a Trust now – I am here to do a Will.  In any case, what is a trust?

S:          I am not advising setting up a Trust now, but under the terms of your Will.  The trust will only come into existence following your death.

Mr A:   I have no intention of dying now.

S:          I quite understand, and I was not suggesting this.

Mr A:   I still want to do a Will so what do you advise?

S:          I believe the way forward would be me to draft a Will which provides for your estate to be held on discretionary trusts for beneficiaries which will include your wife and children.  By including your wife your executors would avoid a claim from her and the children’s entitlement would be looked after by your executors until they reach 18.

Being a discretionary trust your executors have a discretion in the way they act as guided by a separate Letter of Wishes which you would sign which would reflect your wishes.

Mr A:   This sounds sensible and yes, could you draft a Will along the lines you have advised.  I will need help with the Letter of Wishes.

S:          Not a problem.  I will draft a Will and Letter of Wishes based on our discussion for your approval.

If you need advice about your Will or estate planning, please contact Michael Catchpole on 01258 840507.