Book review: The Good Will Guide
Having reviewed Patricia Byron’s Last Orders for the STEP Journal in 2010, I could not miss the opportunity of repeating the exercise for the author’s latest book, The Good Will Guide.
In 18 chapters and only 89 pages Byron covers such topics as the regulation of will writing, who should make a will, intestacy, tax, DIY will kits, online wills, choice of will writers and executors, letters of wishes and many other issues designed with the lay person in mind.
Byron points out common mistakes and traps for the unwary. How many people appreciate that in England and Wales, marriage automatically revokes or annuls a will?
The regulation of will writing is an area of interest to STEP. We have been monitoring developments in this field as we recognise that today, more than ever, as the structures of families become increasingly complex, clients need properly qualified and capable will draftsmen to prepare their wills. The Society has introduced its Advanced Certificate in Will Preparation to enhance competence in all aspects of will preparation. Since publication of the Good Will Guide it has been announced that the Legal Services Board’s recommendation to make will-writing a reserved activity in England and Wales has been rejected by the UK government.
Byron points out common mistakes and traps for the unwary. How many people appreciate that in England and Wales, marriage automatically revokes or annuls a will? As with marriage, entry into a civil partnership also automatically revokes a will. I liked much about this little book, which highlights the importance of making the decisions that are correct for individuals and their heirs.
The first decision is to make a will and review it regularly as circumstances change, but the author notes that two-thirds of the population of England and Wales die without making a will. You may be under the impression that if you don’t make a will your estate will pass to your spouse automatically under the rules of intestacy. Often this may be the case, but if for some reason you are mistaken your wealth may end up in the hands of the Crown or distributed in the way that is prescribed by law. A simple and useful flow chart, which illustrates how wealth is distributed should a person die intestate, is provided for the reader’s reference. This chapter (on the subject of intestacy) is important because it highlights the consequences of not making a will. Readers who have invested the relatively small sum, GBP7.95, needed to acquire this publication are sensible to take this matter seriously and to read up on the process.
Written in the same clear and practical style as Last Orders, this impressive book is a comprehensive guide for the lay person. It will equip the reader with all of the information needed to take the next step and make a good will.
AUTHOR: Patricia C Byron
PUBLISHER: Stellar Books Publishing
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