In over 13 wonderful years of working as an estates Paralegal I have never had two clients with identical circumstances; and that’s part of what makes the job so interesting and varied. Families come in all shapes and sizes. Second or third marriages are so much more common. Cohabiting is no longer unusual, but cohabiting couples are often surprised to hear that UK law does not consider these loving, committed relationships in the same way as marriage or civil partnership.
The starting point for my meetings with clients is their family tree – and what would have been a very simple diagram for families in the 50’s and 60’s, often extends over the page of my attendance notes, with extra branches or offshoots that are no longer considered part of the tree.
In the past couple of months, for example, I met with a client with an estate valued at well over £1 million, with children from a former relationship, very young step-children, a differently-able (I can’t bear the negativity of the word disabled) adopted child, and with the added complication of being married to a previous partner but living with someone else. Complicated? Certainly. Needing careful thought and planning? Definitely. And although the appointment took a little over the usual hour, the result was the same as for all Carisma Wills clients… peace of mind.
Other recent clients have included a lovely widow who is dealing brilliantly with her cancer diagnosis, a young family with a new baby about to buy their first home, a fiercely independent octogenarian who has lived in the same house since birth, and a loving daughter looking to support her mother who has short-term memory issues.
To anyone who thinks that their circumstances are just too complicated or who, perhaps, is delaying their Will and Lasting Powers of Attorney because they feel that they will be judged when explaining their life’s journey… please seek our friendly and professional estate planning advice and guidance. Your family is unique – but we will be able to explain how the law applies to you and those who depend on you. We can guide you through the Will-making process, simply and without unnecessary legal jargon. It is a privilege to meet and help all our clients. Please get in touch if you would like a free initial discussion.
Donna Hames is a Paralegal at Carisma Wills, enjoyed her law degree so much she went on to a post-grad in law, has 13 years experience in Will writing, Lasting Powers of Attorney, advance decisions (living wills), asset protection trusts and was proud to be accepted as an Affiliate of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners in 2017.