holiday checklist

AN ESSENTIAL ITEM TO ADD TO YOUR HOLIDAY CHECKLIST – HAVE YOU GOT A VALID WILL?

Picture the scene: you’re packing for your holiday. You’re excited and can’t wait to get away from it all. Your sojurn in the sun, sightseeing in the city or swooshing down the slopes is almost upon you.

It’s quality time for you and your family and it’s great to all be getting away together for some R&R.

So, you’d think that, in this flurry of pre-holiday activity, having a valid Will in place would be the last thing on people’s minds. Yet, the opposite is true. I find that holiday preparations are a common trigger for people to call me in a panic, wondering if it’s possible to get a Will drafted before they set foot on the plane.

Planning ahead

This is where a bit of forward planning goes a long way. Because trying to get a Will drafted two days before you’re about to fly is not ideal. You’ll be in a rush and you won’t have time to give sufficient thought to your wishes. The chances are that you’ll write a Will that will need changing later because you didn’t have the headspace to take everything into account.

Better by far is to allow yourself enough time to give thorny issues like inheritance tax  the attention they need before you get to the point of wanting the Will drafted. That way, when you buckle your seat belt on the plane, you’ll know that the Will you’ve written is considered, appropriate and will stand the test of time.

You really don’t want to be worrying about these sorts of things just before you go on holiday! It’s bad enough deciding what to pack!

Why do we panic about Wills before we go on holiday?

I’m not a psychologist so I can only go from experience and what my clients say to me.

It’s a common occurrence, when people call me, to say they’ve been meaning to sort out their Wills but it’s only now, with a week to go, that it’s hit them it’s still not done.

In particular, it happens when an entire family is travelling together. Then their imaginations go into overdrive. What if the plane crashes?  What if something happens while we’re away?

Terror attacks and the undercurrent of a threat of such attacks contribute to this fear factor.

Even though the statistics show that flying is just about the safest way to travel, and that you’re more likely to get run over by a bus than be involved in a terror attack. We all know this of course, but logic doesn’t always prevail. If you’re one of those that struggles with the logic remind yourself of this – taken from an article in The Telegraph: ‘More than 3.5 billion people flew safely on 37.6 million flights in 2015, according to the IATA.’ That’s a lot of people on a lot of flights!

Whatever people’s reasons are for deciding to draft a Will, in my sixteen years of writing them, going on holiday is up there.

What can you do now?

Don’t leave it until the last minute! Talk to a professional like myself now and get your Wills drafted while you’ve got the time and energy to think about it.  Not when you are trying to pack for a holiday and have several things that you need to do at once.

Some professionals may charge a premium for writing a Will in a short space of time. So that’s an additional cost to bear if you leave it until the last minute.

What information do you need to put in my Will?

If you have left it to the last minute and are going on holiday in the next couple of weeks, here are some essentials that you need to have covered in your Will:

  1. Decide on who the Executors will be and ask them if they’re willing to take on that responsibility. Then get their full names and addresses. If you’re a married couple, for example, the survivor might act as the Executor and it’s only if you both die that you’ll need to appoint replacements (maybe your adult children?).
  2. Decide on who will act as a guardian for your children under 18. Again, ask if they’re happy to do so and then get their full names and addresses.
  3. Decide on who the beneficiaries will be. If you’re married with children, you may leave your estates to each other and then the children. If something happens to all of you (which is what people worry about pre-holiday), who will you then name as the beneficiaries in your Wills? You’ll need their full names and addresses too.

These are the main elements for a Will. But there are other factors to consider such as inheritance

tax planning, your funeral wishes and if you wish to leave legacies.

I trust this will help you make the decisions you need to make. Then, when you do speak to the professional drafting the Will, it will save time because you’ve already made some of the decisions required and have the information to hand for them.

How can I help?

If you’ve booked your holiday and know you need a Will, contact me now. I would allow at least two weeks before you go on holiday.

If there’s enough time to draft a well-considered Will that is appropriate for you, I’m more than happy to draft it.

If you’re in any doubt, call me and we’ll see if there is anything I can do to help.

I want you to go away, enjoy your holiday and know that you’ve already sorted out your Wills.

So pick up the phone and let’s make sure you’re only thinking happy holiday thoughts before you go away this year!