Where there’s a Will there’s a way

Gwent accountancy practice Parker & Co is expanding its wills writing business.

The Newport and Cwmbran-based accountants, which offers its will-writing service through Parker & Co Wills, aims to reach beyond its traditional business clients with its service.

Director Gary Parker, who has brought Patricia Szczerba into the team as a trainee will writer, said: “Historically we wanted to provide our accountancy clients with wills, Lasting Powers Of Attorney, trusts and other estate planning in order to preserve their inheritance. They need and should have a valid will. Patricia is now experienced in will writing.

“Figures show that as many as two out of every three people do not have a will. We wish to provide the general public with essential and professional advice they need in order to write a valid will.

“Our wills business has been established for a number of years. Our prices are exceptionally competitive. We offer home visits and can be as accommodating as the clients require. Our knowledge is of a high standard as we are members of the Society of Will Writers and continuously use their services to expand our expertise.

“The main reason to have a will is for one’s estate to be distributed accordingly with their wishes, rather than letting the law decide as well as minimising Inheritance Tax and potential care costs. If people die without a will, intestate, their estate could potentially be distributed between relatives who they may otherwise wish to leave out of the will. You could also potentially be left with a huge Inheritance Tax bill.

“In 2014 a shocking £8m worth of estates was paid to the Crown due people passing away intestate, without a will.

“Having a will is critical for parents in order to appoint guardians for their children. If a child loses both parents and there is no will, not only do they have to deal with a heart-breaking bereavement, but the carers or guardians could be decided by the courts.

“If you own a business, who will run the business and who will own it? Very often nowadays people believe that where there is no will the wife or husband will inherit everything– this is not true. People in business need to ensure that the business passes to someone who will ensure its continuity and secure the best possible inheritance for its family.

“We had a client whose wife had been given a short time to live and they had no wills. There was a substantial business, valuable home and step-children – all the ingredients of a catastrophe where there is no will. We acted quickly and wrote relevant wills encompassing the wishes of both parties protecting the business, the home and the rights of the four grown up children. It helped the lady a lot as she was then happy that her estate would be distributed according to her wishes. The lady subsequently passed-away and the business continues to thrive, the house was kept in the family and children’s inheritance protected. There was no Inheritance Tax paid on the estate.

“We are seeing more and more cohabiting relationships where partners are often left with no rights to their home or inheritance. Where there are children from previous relationships, there must be suitable estate planning clauses involved.

“There are certain methods which can be used to protect Inheritance from marriage after death or insolvency for example. Our knowledge covers those situations and we always make sure we ask a client necessary questions in order to make sure that their will covers all potential situations and is as effective as possible. When couples marry any current Wills are automatically revoked. When couples divorce, they should get up to date Wills completed.

“A will should be reviewed every five years at least or when there is a major change in circumstances.

“We often come across clients who wish to write a basic will, however once we discuss their personal circumstances it is apparent that in order to cover all of their wishes, and sometimes worries, we move into more complex estate planning situation. We believe that when writing a will, it is vital to do the job properly from start to finish and leave no stone unturned.

“Bad wills, homemade or online wills, do not accommodate personal circumstances. It is essential to have a consultation to discuss personal circumstances prior to writing a will to ensure that all is covered. A bad will can sometimes be worse than no will. To make them valid they should be properly signed, dated and witnessed.”