Book Review: Parker’s Will Precedents – 10th Edition
by Leon Pickering
published by Bloomsbury Professional | ISBN: 9781526509307
This compact book has long had a place on the practitioner’s bookshelf as somewhere to start an enquiry into the drafting of a Will. Its stated purpose is to provide precedents for practitioners to see how to best express a testator’s wishes or to see what different forms of words should be used. It is a book to slip into your briefcase when visiting a client and a book to encourage a new Will drafter to read from cover to cover to get started in the world of drafting Wills.
Despite its size, the book (coming in at less than 500 pages) contains a comprehensive range of topics from general considerations and taking instructions to digital assets and clauses for disabled and vulnerable beneficiaries. It has a chapter on each part of a standard Will i.e.
- Opening and revocation
- Funeral wishes
- Appointment of executors and trustees
- Appointment of Guardians
- Specific gifts of real property, chattel and other personal property
- Residuary gifts
In addition, there are chapters on foreign Wills and property; business interests, charitable giving and dealing with minors. Inheritance Tax and how it might be mitigated in Wills is also given special treatment.
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Perhaps one of the useful features is the sections on complete Wills for a range of testators.
Chapter 34 contains some useful letters and other support materials e.g. a model letter for cancelling the testator’s rights under the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013.
Structure & Layout
The book has 34 chapters each with commentary and relevant precedents included at the end of the chapter so that they can be read and understood together. There is a licence agreement to download the precedents from Bloomsbury Professionals website for the book to make the precedents easier to use, subject to the conditions stated in the licence.
There are also 4 Appendices containing relevant statutory provisions such as the Intestacy Rules.
A book of precedents is a book of tools. Often practitioners seek precedents at courses and from tutors but there are plenty of precedents available as this book attests. What practitioners need are the skills to determine which precedents should be used in a particular case. This book helps a practitioner see the often subtle differences between precedents and helps them gauge when one might be used in preference to another to best meet the needs of the client.
In addition to Will precedents, this book contains helpful tools for the practitioner such as a checklist for taking instructions, a Digital Asset List and various letters and other support materials e.g. explaining a life interest trust or a discretionary trust to a client.
Clarity & readability
This book is written in plain English and is a gem of clarity and readability.
Relevance to practitioners
Any Will drafter should have this book in their arsenal. Even if the case you are dealing with is complex, this book can often provide a starting point for further research. Recently, on being asked for help with a life interest trust where a power to appoint capital to the life tenant was required, it was this book that provided a suitable form of words, not other sources, which was surprising but pleasing.
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