The Risks of ‘Tick Box’ Wills

January 26, 2024

'Tick box' Wills simply don't cut it anymore when it comes to protecting your inheritance against modern-day threats such as divorce, inheritance tax, addiction (like drugs/gambling) or it generally falling into the wrong hands.

Securing and passing on wealth to your family members isn’t just about paperwork, a mistake we believe many in the Will writing or legal profession continue to make.

Why do I say this? Well because the world has changed, and many inheritance protection firms are failing to adapt with it.

Families today can be more complex, from the nuclear to the blended or extended family, they can come in many different shapes and sizes. Perhaps the complexity lies in the assets themselves, such as having a family business involved or a second or third home. A Will today needs to be robust, transparent, and set up to address your specific family circumstances. It should ensure to protect your money and sentimental items for generations to come, and this is where a ‘protective’ Will comes in.

A ‘tick box’ Will

Firstly, though, let me explain what a tick box Will is. Also sometimes described as a ‘DIY Will’ or ‘Checkbox Will’, this typically pre-printed form allows a person to select or tick ‘standard’ options or fill in blanks to specify their wishes for the distribution of their estate after their death. Designed for simplicity, this is where the risks lie.

This ’one-size-fits-all’ approach often leaves wealth, assets and possessions that should be directly passed down through generations, at greater risk of being lost along the way to life events like tax, remarriage, care fees or poor life choices.

By not tailoring the Will to individual circumstances inheritance is left extremely vulnerable to falling into the wrong hands, including HMRC, rather than passing to loved ones or to those we wish to benefit from it.

Protective Will

Instead, a Will should take a holistic approach to preparing for death. Using professional legal advisors to simplify the complex, the Will should consider the parallel wealth of the whole family. It should make clear what will happen to the possessions and assets when someone dies and provide a protective wrapper around your wealth and sentimental items to ensure that they pass through generations to come - and are not exposed to modern-day threats and Inheritance tax.

We understand that talking about death and money – the elephant in the room - is often a subject that most people want to avoid. However, to ensure that your wishes are followed to the letter in your Will, and not lost by life events, it’s important to involve your loved ones from the start. Working with a professional, you can kickstart the conversation and build a plan which includes your family so there’s clarity all around – you’ll find that this reduces anxiety and brings families closer together.

The last thing you want to be remembered for is leaving behind a lot of financial mess and paperwork chaos for family members to sort out, or even fight over – that key-in-the-door moment when a family member is left riffling through tons of documents to find what they need.

By preparing properly for death not only are you protecting your family’s future financial security you are also saving them time, stress and money when you’re gone – leaving them to focus on grieving and to remember the financial support you’ve left behind.

How our protective Will process works

To achieve the best results, we take you on a logical, straightforward journey, through the following steps:-

1. Initial conversation

To meet one another, understand your current situation and goals

2. Options explained

A follow-on meeting to present your personal protective Will package option

3. Forms

We will handhold you through any forms that need to be completed

4. Drafting Will package

We will handhold you through the checking and signing of draft documents

5. Signing

Documents are signed by the people involved in your planning and returned for checking

6. Final documents

Originals or copies are sent to you for storing

To find out more or to enquire about our protective Wills services please contact us here for an initial, no-obligation conversation.