The summer is over, kids (if you have them) are back at school, and Christmas is still a few months away. It feels like a fresh chapter, and the ideal time to get organised before life gets busy again.
One thing that most of us put off is making a will. It feels like you’ll have lots of time and it’s not that high on your list of priorities. And, let’s be honest, it touches on a subject we prefer not to think about.
However, if you die without having made a will, you could be leaving behind significant financial problems for the people you care about. Research suggests that more than half of adults in the UK don’t have a will. And this number rises dramatically to 84% for the 18-35 age group.
Will writing could be seen as one of the ‘unsung’ employee benefits, yet it makes good money-saving sense. Here’s what it offers:
20% discount on making a will through an experienced specialised provider
Spreading the cost over 12 months through the employee’s salary
Cost is collected before National Insurance is applied, delivering an additional 12% saving to basic rate taxpayers and 2% to higher rate taxpayers
The fixed fee cost of a single Will through a specialised Will writing solicitor = £170.00 (including VAT) and the fixed fee cost of a couples Will through a specialised Will writing solicitor = £230.00 (including VAT).
The will-writing benefit is worth much more than the costs saved on the service alone. If taken up by employees it can provide peace of mind and security, while removing stress and financial upheaval for families further down the line.
If you have dependent children, aren’t married to your partner, or own property with someone else, you really should have a will. Also if you have specific funeral wishes or are concerned about inheritance tax. And if you have a will but your personal circumstances have changed through marriage or having children, you should get it updated.
If you’re still not convinced, these five good reasons to have a will from Which? consumer guide may change your mind:
– Having a will saves your family the stress of uncertainty, disputes and taking legal advice at an already emotional time
– It makes sure your money goes to the right people
– Lets you appoint a guardian for your children; otherwise the courts will appoint one
– It ensures assets are left to a partner if you’re not married
– Provides for children and step-children, particularly for certain life events that may occur after they’re 18.
Having a will-writing service as an employee benefit is a great way to just get it done. Access your benefits portal, select the will-writing service and kick-start the process today. It will be easier than you think and will give you a sense of security and certainty.
There are other cost-saving ways to get a will that you can compare with the final savings offered by your employee benefit – just make sure you are comparing like-for-like services.
This article by Money Saving Expert does an excellent job of listing these and explaining the pros and cons. Options include charity-based free will writing by solicitors (usually in exchange for a donation), low-cost will writing services which may or may not include a solicitor’s oversight, and DIY wills.
Low-cost options are not all comparable in terms of the service and legal protection offered if something were to go wrong. And bear in mind that there will always be a cost difference between simple wills and writing more complicated ones.
There are no costs to the employer for the will writing benefit. It’s good corporate responsibility to offer affordable access to will writing services, which may help prevent avoidable distress and legal disputes for families in the future.
And it can support the trustees of your life assurance and pension schemes in event of the death of an employee when deciding who the funds should go to if there is contention, complexity or challenges are raised.
To get more information about the will writing benefit and what it offers to employers and employees, click here.
The Citizens Advice website has excellent general information on wills.