MONEY MATTERS: Where there’s a will there’s always a way

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Last week the Beckhams proudly showed the world their new baby, named Harper Seven. An exciting time for any family but there is more to consider than just the name.

It is worrying that parents of minor children are less likely than others to have prepared a will. You should consider who would look after your children in the event of your death.

A valid will nominating guardians is invaluable. If no one knows what you would have wanted, the court will decide on the future of your children, and it may not be what you or your children would have wished.

If you are living as a couple but not officially married, you may be treated as a single person and a surviving partner may get nothing at all. You could cut the cost of executing your will dramatically.

Research claims over-50s are squandering millions of pounds a year on once-in-a-lifetime probate and will-writing decisions by opting to use a solicitor or financial adviser.

Many are unaware that it is not a legal requirement to appoint a solicitor to be your executors and 43 per cent of people still use solicitors to be their legal representatives in the event of their deaths.

It is estimated that lawyers together with Britain’s high street banks net an annual £1.25 billion in fees from sorting out clients’ last testaments.

Even if it is a simple estate, charges can be on an on-going basis normally at an hourly rate, or you may be charged a percentage of the estate and in some instances, both.

Having a will written is relatively inexpensive and in some cases it is offered free. If your bank has offered a free will writing service looks at the small print terms and conditions of their executor fees and charges

Anyone considering undertaking the probate work themselves should be very careful and always seek advice from a probate specialist. Please email any money questions you may have and I will always respond to you directly.

If you’re a single parent you can take advantage of a free will during July. Email paul@paulhammondmoney.co.uk for details

• The majority of emails I received this week were from people looking for advice on how to cope with their ever-soaring living costs.

This in a week when figures showed that between April 2010 and March 2011, a total of £13.6billion in bonuses were paid to workers in the ‘finance and insurance’ sector.

As I watched Murdoch give his evidence I couldn’t help but wonder why there was no equivalent investigation into the actions of bankers and the Government.