Rising numbers of employers are choosing to add a wills writing service to their staff benefits package. This follows growing public awareness of the need to avoid leaving problems for families to sort out upon death, as well as ensuring that their own wishes are carried out fully and efficiently, without unnecessary delay or cost.
Put simply, those of us who do not make a will have no say in who gets what when we die.
Recent research by Will Aid shows that whilst there has been an increase in the number of people who have written a will - up almost 4% on the previous year, more than half of the population still do not have suitable provision in place, despite ever more dislocated and complicated family relationships and an increasingly litigious society meaning that making one has never been more pressing.
The main reason given for not writing a will is simply that they haven’t had time to do so, whilst others feel that they are perhaps too young to need one, or perhaps have nothing of real worth to leave. Others feel that the process would be costly and complex. Most concerning of all is the 13% who wrongly believe that there is no need to have a will because their family will automatically inherit.
As well as giving access to what is actually an inexpensive and usually relatively simple process at a discounted rate, or in some instances, with the costs being covered by the employer, this type of employee incentive can dovetail neatly with a firm’s pension provision.
A professional wills service can also offer savings to those who have tax or care fee issues to contend with, and can help to preserve assets. By providing the service within the workplace, employers not only offer staff the convenience of dealing with the matter during work hours, but in addition to being a tangible benefit to employees, this type of service also underlines how highly employers value their workforce.
Faced with the competitive arena of staff recruitment, firms are increasingly aware of the need to offer more than the traditional reward and recognition schemes, and are instead providing lifestyle tailored packages too. These help employees to achieve a more integrated work and home life balance.
Having a professionally crafted will is an essential guard against any costly, emotional and time consuming complications for those loved ones left behind. Knowing that such issues have been dealt with in advance can help to provide employees with peace of mind.
The ‘wills in the workplace’ service is proving popular with SMEs and large corporations alike, with a major bank known to be incorporating it into its employment package and many HR directors and CEOs considering such a move.
The truth is that it is never too early to make a will, but it is possible to leave it too late, and as life changes - getting married, having children, buying a house or retiring – details will need updating. As such, employers who are considering offering such a benefit should ensure that the package they provide includes regular reviews, and the opportunity for individuals to request revisions in the event of a change in circumstance.
By Michele Todd, partner at hlw Keeble Hawson