One principle I stick to in life is that I will not promote or sell anything that I do not wholeheartedly believe in.
That’s why it makes absolutely no sense to me how anyone could work in Wills and Estate Planning without a valid written Will of their own.
They understand the risks. They have no doubt seen, as I have, the heartbreak and financial turmoil that can unfold when there is no Will, no Estate Plan and no Lasting Power of Attorney in place.
The life insurance policy that goes to the parents instead of the long-term, unmarried, cohabiting partner.
Children who lose out on what may have been intended for them because their divorced parent married again and died without a Will.
A spouse who is not authorised to deal with their partner’s affairs because the LPA was not in place before signs of dementia.
I truly believe that it is irresponsible for any adult not to have their Will and LPA in place. For many people, Estate Planning is crucial too. For those who specialise in this area, there is simply no excuse. They, of all people, should have their documents written up and securely stored.
Why do I feel this so strongly?
After all, it could be that they believe in what they do, but just haven’t got around to doing it for themselves yet. Perhaps they think their chances of a brain injury from an accident or early onset dementia are too low to worry about. Maybe they will do it tomorrow.
However, surely it is dishonest of them to talk to others about the crucial importance of their Will and Estate Plan if they have not gone through the process themselves? How crucial can it really be?
If they have not thought about what may happen in the future and what the consequences would be for those they love, why should their clients?
If they have not formalised a plan so that the right people inherit and the taxman does not take far more than necessary from the estate, how can they stress the importance to others?
The Wake-Up Call
Often the wake-up call is a short, sharp shock. When someone close suffers the consequences of an unexpected death or dementia diagnosis, the realities of the situation play out in real life. It finally sinks in. There is a sort of ripple effect across families and connections. People start to realise that it could happen to them.
It could have been them.
They see the fallout of leaving it too late. Not only would they never wish that on their own loved ones, but they do not want to suffer it themselves. They talk to their parents, their relatives and their colleagues. They spread the message.
Another ripple effect that we see in this line of work is when witnesses and executors are called into the process to find out what their duties are and what they may be required to do in the future. You can see the penny drop. They finally get around to sorting their Will, Estate Plan and LPA.
So, if any prospective Will and Estate Planners are reading this, please do get in touch. But only if you are serious about your chosen specialism, which means that you must surely have written your Will.