For a moment I considered this blog post to be poorly timed since it’s the season to be jolly, and the last thing I want to do is kill the mood. Merry Christmas everyone.
But then. I changed my mind. Perhaps the deeper-thinkers will appreciate the profound irony of discussing death during the time many celebrate the birth of baby Jesus! The circle of life.
My reluctant need to organise a Will & Testament
So, even though I’m in my
early 20’s early 30’s, which by all intents and purposes is young for an impeccably healthy individual (minus a dodgy finger, but more on that shortly) to be fluttering around the idea of death, it does seem like the sensible move considering I do own appreciating ‘assets’, and even the optimist in me isn’t deluded enough to deny the possibility of tripping over my obscenely gigantic pecker and knocking my lights out. What a way to go.
From what I understand, the Grim Reaper does not discriminate and has no conception of time. Regardless of age, race, gender, faith, or penis size – and even if your faith allows you to be reborn as a cactus – one thing is for sure, when it happens we won’t be carrying over the junk we’ve accumulated in this life to the next.
As amusing as it would be to do a disappearing act before creating a blueprint of how I want my assets distributed, so I can appear down on the self-appointed beneficiaries squabble over my life’s work, I think it will probably do more harm than good, especially since ‘the law’ gets to dictate who gets what if I don’t do it myself. Yeah, fuck that.
However, even while fully understanding and respecting the reality of uncompromising death, I’ve always been reluctant to plan for it. Planning for it feels like bad karma, and almost like I’d be jinxing myself into an early grave. But putting the Voodoo crap aside, I’ve also been too lazy to get it sorted; arranging a meeting with a will expert/solicitor and leaving the comfort of my parents’ basement always felt terribly overwhelming. That said, apparently I’m not alone, because I’m told seven out of ten landlords don’t prepare Wills and a whooping 97% of Brits don’t have a will or have one that’s outdated, which is thoroughly comforting. Communal failure is so much easier to accept, ain’t it?
Long story short, for the past few years I’ve been prioritising everything else before thinking about what happens ‘after’.
Why I suddenly decided to get my will sorted…
One of my mate’s is ‘one of those’ Marketing guys; he exclusively deals with digital companies, and promises them the world:
TRUST ME, I’ll get you a thousand new customers by sunlight. You’ll be retired on a yacht by next year! Picture yourself swimming in money and tits… Can you see it? Can you feel it? That’s my promise to you!
YES, YES, YES!!!
Hook line and sinker.
A couple of weeks ago he was informing me about a new client he had reeled in, Farewill, and they, lo and behold, allow you to create ‘professional’ Wills online for £90.
For the first time [for totally selfish reasons], I found myself interested in his work. I didn’t really consider the grand possibility of creating a will online (not to be confused with generic downloadable templates) while remaining glued to my seat by the congealed remains of kebab grease and cheese-puff residue, but I’m not terribly surprised it’s possible considering I order toothpaste and toilet roll off Amazon.
Apparently a ‘typical lawyer’ charges a ‘one time’ fee of anywhere between £200 – £500 for a similar service, plus, however much you value the inconvenience of leaving your home to fulfil a rewardless ‘chore’.
My interest has been perked.
Perhaps this is how I was finally convinced.
Ok, so now, back onto my mutilated pinky.
Before you all FREAK OUT, I’m fine.
Well, actually, let’s just say I survived. I might technically be ‘fine’ after PTSD counselling.
Last week I had a near-death experience when I stubbed my beautiful little finger on a basketball during a friendly game, which caused it to buckle and dislocate. The experience profoundly made me realise how fragile
I am life is. And wonderful. I had two nurses yank my bone back into place.
Life is so precious, isn’t it?
I hate to be a cliché cheeseball, but I’ve discovered a new found respect for life.
If my recent toe-curling and heart-breaking experience wasn’t a utterly terrifying reminder of how we are all vulnerable – even those in peak physical condition – then I don’t know what is. I mean, just look at my pinky (if you don’t mind looking at a war-torn severed body, that is)!!!
My poor finger is a bloody catastrophe. Your prayers would be appreciated.
So, two very telling events all pointing in the same direction…
Will and Testament sorted
After years of side-stepping and procrastinating, I finally did it. I don’t know what all the fuss was about…
Approximately an hour ago I jumped onto the Farewill website and sorted out my Will. It was pretty effortless. Actually, it almost felt too effortless considering the magnitude of death, but I’ve been assured it’s legit. But then again, technically you can write your own will on your own ass, and stuff it into a shoebox and slide it under your bed until it’s required. As long as it’s signed and witnessed, that’s one legally binding ass.
Disclaimer: Wills are legal documents, and as small errors can cause big problems, it’s preferable to have someone legally qualified draft it for you. Even if it’s on your flesh.
Why am I sharing this?
A lot of my ‘financial assets’ is accounted for by my BTL properties (but not exclusively), and I imagine that’s the case for many of you slumlords also. We all need to eventually decide who we want to curse with our bullshit BTL’s.
In all seriousness, I don’t know if I would laugh or cry if I inherited a BTL. It’s like donating a pair of jeans that’s filled with skid-marks to the homeless.
Anyways, I’m assuming many of you are uglier and older than me, so you’ve probably already made suitable reservations. But for everyone else, which includes the seven out of ten landlords that statistically hasn’t got round to it (for whatever reason), maybe this is the ticket you’ve been waiting for, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on using Farewill’s online will service.
More about FareWill (and other online will companies)
A few points that I’d like to share, just in case you happen to be intrigued…
- Online will companies: I did come across a few online will companies after a few quick Google searches, so I don’t want you to think I’m veering you into one dirty little corner. So go ahead, shop around if you’re interested. But in all honesty, Farewill looked the best to me.
- Will sample: here’s a sample Will from FareWill.
- Cost: Farewill’s pricing structure: “Your professional will for £90 (or £135 for a couple). Updatable anytime for £10/year.”
“£10/year” updateable fee”.. errr..? Exactly! It confused the crap out of me also, so I did some investigating.
After creating and paying for your will, they automatically sign you into an annual subscription of £10 per year, which permits you to make as many updates as you need. You can cancel any time (easily via your personal control panel), but then you’ll have to pay the amount again if you wish to make changes in the future. Your first year of updates is free, so diarise if you want to cancel before the subscription fees kick in.
The update subscription does make sense for those with frequently changing circumstances, for example, anyone that’s growing their property portfolio and/or often transferring money into different banks/savings accounts to benefit from better rates.
Anyways, I paid the £90 for a single will (I didn’t get any special rate from my bone-head friend even though he does their marketing, which is something I kept in mind while cobbling together my will. He’ll get the jeans I mentioned earlier).
- Time taken: On the tin it says it takes about 15mins. They’re not lying.
- Interface: This is what I really liked about Farewill- they’ve made it so incredibly easy to create a will. I’m not exaggerating when I say that even if you’re the type of person that farts on demand and scratches your balls with a fork, you should still have the mental capacity to follow the process.
- 1. Fill in your personal details.
- 2. Fill in details of those you want to inherit your state (money, property and anything else you wish to specifically allocate)
- 3. Define how you want the estate to be split (by percent).
- 4. Define what happens in the event of your beneficiaries dying before you.
- 5. Define Executors of the Will.
- 6. Define your ‘Financial Assets’. Interestingly, they didn’t have a real estate/property option, so threw my properties under “other” and listed the addresses.
- 7. Check details.
- 8. Pay £90 for a single will (or £135 for a couple).
- 9. Wait for confirmation email from Farewill stipulating that everything is in order with your will (every will is double-checked by one of their experts). Sidenote, my confirmation email landed up in my spam/junk folder.
- 10. Print the will and get it signed & witnessed.
- Support / Expert advice: They have live chat and phone support, but I didn’t take advantage.
- TrustPilot: I’m a TrustPilot fiend! Even if I was looking for someone to wipe my cat’s ass, I’d hunt down TrustPilot reviews to ensure I was using someone that deploys the best and most gentle techniques! At the time of writing this blog post, FareWill have a rating of 9.6 /10, which ain’t bad by anyone’s standards. Check it.
- Solicitor / Financial advisers: When I was explaining this online will gig to a [well-off] friend, he said that he liked creating his will with his specialist Solicitor face-to-face, because he was advised to reconsider certain choices after being explained legal technicalities. I guess that’s the trade-off.
However, I took a few things into consideration while choosing to go down the online route. Firstly, my circumstances are bog-standard; there’s nothing obscure or hairy about it. If I had a more complicated situation (i.e. complicated estate, kids from another marriage, manipulative blood-sucking ex-wife, a bastard son that I wanted to compensate etc.), I may have thrown on a suit and reluctantly sailed down the face-to-face Solicitor route.
Secondly, I haven’t ruled out the fact that this will may end up being a “for now” and “better than nothing” solution. If my situation changes I may end up groveling to a snotty solicitor so I can be properly advised through each asset (and pay through the ass for it, I’m sure).
To quote FareWill’s FAQ page,
Wills aren’t actually too complex it turns out, so it baffles us that they usually cost so much. We keep things simple and to a high standard, so £90 it is.
I like it.
- Inheritance tax: Yeah, you see, I just don’t know about how any of that works, and this is where colluding with a tax specialist may help at some point. Ultimately, I don’t want to burden anyone with tax bills, but I’m not sure I should be overly concerned since my beneficiaries will be getting a house or two for fuck-all.
However, what I do know is that the law demands 40% tax on any assets worth over £325,000 that you leave, so those valuable houses could cost your beneficiaries a small fortune. One way to reduce or completely avoid the burden of inheritance tax is by giving your assets away before you die (it works on a sliding scale, between 3- 7 years). More details on the GOV website.
In any case, the tax implications is an issue for another rainy day. Maybe decade.
If anyone’s interested, here’s a link to Farewill (which I promised my mate I’d share in an obnoxious fashion)…
What happens if you don’t leave a will?
Oddly, I only looked into this AFTER I wrote mine. What a baffoon! I ‘spose anyone with half a brain would have done the research first (even though it wouldn’t have changed the outcome). In any case, here are the basics:
Dying without a valid will is called ‘intestacy’. Intestacy law is different in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, but there are some common rules:
- Any Inheritance Tax that your estate/beneficiaries has to pay might be higher.
- If you die with no living close relatives, your estate will be passed to the Crown. This law is known as ‘bona vacantia’.
- If you’re not married and not in a civil partnership, your partner is not legally entitled to anything when you die.
- If you have children or grandchildren, how much they are legally entitled to will depend on where you live in the UK. But if you make will, you can decide how much they each individually get.
To round off, if anyone does want to know more about wills, probate and inheritance, a good starting point is the Gov website.
Right, that’s me done.
If anyone decides to use Farewill or any other online will solution, please share your thoughts/experience!
Merry Christmas and seasons greetings everyone!!! Hope you all have an awesome break! See ya’ next ‘ear xoxo
P.s. I hope none of you die! Ever!
Disclaimer: I'm just a simple landlord blogger, I am not qualified to give legal or financial advice. Any advice I give is my opinion based on my experience, and is never legal or professional advice. You should always get professional advice on any legal and financial matters!