Your Unfun Bucket List – an expert lawyer’s top 5 tips

5 Boring Things to do before you die

1.        Make your Will

This really is “Get your Affairs in Order” Class 1.01.  Make your Will and save your loved ones unnecessary delays, expense, uncertainty and potential disputes when you die.

2.        Review your Will

Already have a Will?  Congratulations, you’ve passed Class 1.01! Provided, that is, that you didn’t just cobble something together yourself or fill out a form you bought at a newsagents. 

No? You have a proper Will?  Great, then here’s the Entrance Exam to the Intermediate Course – if you can truthfully answer “Yes” to all these questions, then you’re in:-

(a)      Do you know where the original of your Will is?

(b)      Have you told your Executors and/or your principal beneficiaries where it is?

(c)       Have you updated your Will following your marriage, divorce, birth of your children or the death of any of your Executors or beneficiaries? 

(d)      Have you reviewed your Will within – say – the last 5 years to remind yourself what it provides and to check this is still what you want?

(e)      If your Solicitors hold your Will, do they have a note of your and your Executors’ and beneficiaries’ present addresses and contact details?

(f)       If you have children under 16, do you appoint guardians for them in your Will (in the event of their other parent having died before you)?

3.        Family Fortunes

When reviewing your financial affairs, don’t overlook your “worth more dead than alive” fortune: your pension pot or death-in-service benefit. If you have these, they can be passed on to your loved ones, free of any tax, upon your death. It is essential that you lodge with your pension trustees your written Expression of Wish. It is this document – not your Will – which effectively determines who receives these, often substantial, payments. So make sure your Expression of Wish is in place and that it reflects your current wishes.

4.        Express your Funeral Wishes

Making funeral arrangements at an already stressful time can be harrowing for loved ones. This is particularly so where the deceased has not left any indication of his or her funeral wishes. Expressing these wishes in your Will is one way of avoiding that situation. But you don’t have to do this – just so long as your loved ones know what you want. Not something likely to come up in conversation and not, perhaps, an easy topic to bring up. But do, please, have that conversation with your loved ones – both as to their and your wishes. It could save a lot of heartache in the future.

 5.   Avoid a Paper Chase

Where someone lives alone and hasn’t told anyone about their finances, it can be very tricky, following their death, trying to work out what their estate comprises. If this could apply to you, make a list of your financial assets and liabilities and place it with your financial documents, together in one place. Let your Executor or Solicitor know where that place is. 

Surprisingly, this same problem can still arise, even where there is a surviving spouse or partner.   If it was the deceased who handled all the couple’s finances, the surviving spouse or partner may have little clue where they stand financially. So if you are the “Paperwork” Partner in your relationship, make a point of reviewing your finances with your “Not My Department” Partner periodically. And if you’re the NMD Partner, please don’t shy away from this.

 In Summary then:-

·      Make a Will

·      Keep it up to Date

·      Don’t Overlook your Family Fortune

·      Make Clear your Funeral Wishes

·      Confide in someone about your Finances

Still reading? With such a high boredom threshold, you’re a perfect candidate for my Advanced Course: Ten Tedious Tasks to Test Your Will to Live

To claim your free Course Outline, call me on 01357 520082 or email