Research shows that only a minority of families discuss the transfer of wealth between the generations. The ones who do discuss it and prepare for it, usually experience a smooth transition of wealth, hassle-free. The ones who do not plan for it often experience lots of headaches.

Unfortunately, still today only 40% of the UK population has Wills though mercifully 60% of over 60-year olds have them. Astonishingly just 1% of them have Lasting Powers of Attorney. It never ceases to amaze me the low take up of such important legal documents.

I have been a passionate advocate of both Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney, LPAs, for decades. As a result, I am proud to say that 95% of our clients have Wills and 75% have LPAs today. My obsession with these legal documents won’t end until 100% of my firm’s clients, Wealth And Tax Management, have these legal documents in place.

As far as I am concerned, unless you have a Will and both types of LPA (Property and Financial and Health and Welfare) in place, you do not have the foundation in place for your financial planning. I consider it as important as the foundation of your house. No matter what your age is, as soon as you have some wealth you need these legal documents.

We also recommend to clients that they have Letters of Wishes in place to support their Will instructions. Such documents are not legally enforceable but they are highly influential. The advantage of such letters is that they can be frequently changed without the need to re-draft your Will.

In order to help executors and beneficiaries of Wills, we offer a “death checklist” which we have called What I Own and Where It is Kept. This is a very useful document because it details everything you own and where it is stored. For example, who are your key advisers, where your important legal documents are kept, who are the executors, key contact details and so on. This is an extremely important document.