A secure updated Will is something we should all take into serious consideration- and Plymouth Wills is looking to help guide people through this process by providing help and advice on wills,
lasting powers of attorney and trusts. Having these in place can secure your assets and protect them against the hostile creditors, and other unforeseen situations that can happen in your future.
The idea is to ensure you and your family will have control of your hard earned wealth and that you are the only ones who ultimately benefit from it.
John Rio has over 30 years experience in the financial planning industry. Having previous taken over his father’s insurance brokerage in 1994; and consequently selling it in 2002- John gained an invaluable interest in the financial side of the business.
Building upon this interest, John kept hold of the financial side and gained an associate in 2002. The duo set about creating seminar programmes and aimed to gain clients of all age groups- dealing solely with inheritance tax and investment issues.
John and his associate’s clientele grew as a result and they naturally moved into financial planning services for more mature people. “We realised a need for services such as inheritance planning and long term care planning. Westward Asset Management Ltd was established in 2003 to cater solely for our clients needs. This is where my first contact with wills and lasting powers of attorney were made”.
“As this need grew we saw the benefit of transacting this class of business through a separate company and in 2011 Westward Trust Services was formed”.
John and his associate were the directors of Westward Asset Management Ltd and Westward Trust Services for the following 15 years- until they took the decision to sell the business. Not wanting to carry on with what was initially a joint venture, John made the bold decision to start up his own business- and so Plymouth Wills Writing Service was formed.
Working together with our very own Graphic Designer, Tom- John came up with a brand new company name, logo design and branding package.
John Rio tells us that going it alone wasn’t without its difficulties. “Firstly, being by myself was a huge challenge. You have no one to bounce your ideas around with. However, John overcame this by becoming a member of the society of Will Writers- a non profit making, self regulatory organisation whose primary objectives are the advancement, education and ethical standards within the will writing profession.
“Plymouth Wills is an accredited member of the Society of Will writers and they provide me with my continuous professional development. Last year, the society wrote 20% of all wills in the UK. They are a major player in the game so it’s great to have them backing me”.
“The will writing course took me right back to basics. I’m actually still learning because the industry constantly changes, but I do really enjoy it. They provide me with all of my professional development through online blogs and Webinars and in house training days”.
When we last spoke to John, he told us that his target demographic was what he called ‘Middle England’. “People who’ve never had anything who eventually require care, will have that covered for them by their local council”. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you’re very wealthy with pension funds then you don’t have to worry about care because you’ve got the funds to cover it. Middle England are the people who get affected, because they could potentially lose out on a lot.
“Middle England is still my target market, but I also want to stress the importance of younger generations thinking about their financial assets. It is important to understand what will happen to your estate if we die without a Will.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT-
IF YOU ARE SINGLE: You might want your estate divided amongst friends, relatives and charities of your choosing and in the proportions you want.
IF YOU ARE MARRIED: Don’t assume “my other half will get everything”. Brothers and sisters or parents may have a claim. If you are living as a couple but not officially married, you may be treated as a single person and a surviving partner may not get anything at all. One thing you can be certain of – there will be arguments and disputes at a time when the family should be coping with the loss of a loved one.
IF YOU ARE A PARENT: You should consider who you would like to look after your children in the event of your death. This is particularly important in the case of one parent families or unmarried parents living together. A valid Will nominating guardians is invaluable in such cases. If no one knows what what you would have wanted, the court will decide on the future of your children, and it may not be what your children would have wished.
IF YOU ARE RETIRED: Maybe you made your Will a long time ago. It probably needs updating to include additional grandchildren or deletion of persons you no longer feel you wish to leave anything to.We advise reviewing your Will every 2-5 years to take into account changes in circumstances.
It’s not just the older generation that have to consider the services I offer. If you are young and taking out a mortgage, you’ve got to consider your financial future.
As well as Wills, John also offers Lasting Power of attorney for as little as £79. “There are two types- property and financial affairs and health and welfare. My own personal opinion is that a health and welfare attorney is just as important- if not more, as financial. If you are not of sound mind and health, you want someone who can make decisions to benefit you- that will be in your best interest”.
John stresses the importance of considering an attorney whilst you are fit and healthy, rather than to wait until health issues arise. “If you are on that slippery slope, then it will be a lot harder and a lot more expensive to ensure an attorney is put in place”. It also takes approximately six weeks for the registration process to be completed with the Office of the Public Guardian.
John works primarily through home visits, although he can also be seen at his home office, and makes special arrangements such as hospital or care home visits.
People are more comfortable in their own homes, I want to break that barrier of the unknown with all the lingo and terms. Sometimes people don’t understand what a will can do and how it is ultimately for your benefit. I offer a free half an hour initial meeting to all local prospective clients and I do not charge for home visits.
Talking through his typical process from enquiry to completion, John explains that the first step is that free initial meeting. “It is essentially a chat and a cup of tea! The aim of the meeting is to fact find, so I’ll need to know whether you currently have a will, why are you looking to change, who are your beneficiaries likely to be”.
From this point, John has 30 days to produce a draft version of the will, and then from there a further 2 weeks to complete the final document. “Throughout the entire process I have support from The Society of Will Writers- they have access to my computer system to check the documents are correct”.
Once the final version is complete, John Rio must have a signature from the client, and two independent witnesses, for the will to be valid. It is then stored electronically. John recommends that clients review their current wills every 2-5 years.
Looking to the future, John explains that if the business was to take off- he would consider sourcing an office to operate from. “My main concern is that I don’t want it to get to the stage where the business is controlling me, I want to be in control of the business. I want to show that I offer a local, friendly service and that I genuinely care about my client’s needs and worries”.
There is also a strong demand for other services that we offer, in particular Funeral Plans and Probate services.
A plan to deal with the most personal and sensitive of your family affairs and alleviate the financial and emotional burdens that naturally accompany bereavement.
Some of the reasons why people purchase funeral plans:
• At a time of sadness, you will have relieved your family of a financial burden.
• Savings in bank or building society is just a sum of money. Your executors are not obliged to spend it on your funeral and it may not keep up with the rising cost of funerals. The national average cost of a funeral has increased by 90% since 2004. Source: The Sun Life Cost of Dying Report 2017.
• Putting your funeral wishes in your Will is not binding upon your executors – they do not have to carry out your wishes
Probate is the process to establish ownership of an estate before the tax is paid and the assets are distributed. The responsibility for probate lies with the executors of a Will who often appoint a professional firm to take the responsibility.
Executor responsibilities include:
• Interpreting the Will
• Identifying all assets & liabilities of the estate
• Obtaining valuations of all assets
• Preparing tax returns for the deceased
• Settling all debts of the estate
• Completing and filing of all court forms
This can be daunting for many executors so we have the ability to recommend a trusted partner of the Society of Will Writers, SWW Trust Corporation who are able for a highly competitive fee to take on this responsibility.
If you require any advice or guidance on Wills, Lasting Power of Attorney, Trusts, funeral plans or probate issues John is available for a free initial consultation to help you with any issues you may have.