A lawyer who advises Premier League footballers and TV stars on managing their money has turned his talents to writing.
Wills specialist, James Beresford, has drawn on his 10 years’ experience in the field to write ‘No Will – No Say,’ a simple and practical guide to wills and estate planning.
From his first job at a small, high street firm in Halifax, the 35-year-old now heads up the wills, tax, trusts and probate team at law firm Slater and Gordon and says a will is a vital investment for everyone, regardless of how much they leave behind.
An estimated 60 per cent of the population have yet to make a will, an official document which lists what should be done with your property and possessions when you die.
Even those who have one may need to update it if, for example, they start a family, have a new partner or have moved to the UK from a country with different laws.
James, from Calderdale, West Yorkshire, who has advised a number of high-profile clients, said: “No one likes to talk about dying so we put off making a will, but it’s something that everyone needs to consider.
“A lot of people do it after they have children because they want to make sure that if anything happens they will be looked after and provided for.
“There are a lot of common pitfalls though – such as the belief that your ‘common law’ spouse will inherit your estate, which isn’t true. That’s why it’s so important to get the right advice.”
Although the contents of your will could be worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, James says many people try to cut corners – and beneficiaries pay the price.
On one occasion, a man amended a relative’s will himself to try and save money and inadvertently disinherited himself.
James, who also lectures on the subject at BPP Law School in Leeds, added: “People think they’ll save money by doing it themselves, but by going with a cheap or ‘DIY’ will they could be creating problems for their loved ones in the future if there’s a mistake or someone tries to dispute their wishes.”
‘No will – no say’ also offers advice on related topics such as inheritance tax and how to plan for the future if for example, you have a child who needs specialist care or fear you may no longer be able to make decisions for yourself.
‘No will – no say ‘ is available online at books.telegraph.co.uk or for more information go to slatergordon.co.uk.