Will-writing services is not a service that is regulated throughout. Solicitors preparing will for clients will be regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) but there are many companies out there that are not and their level of knowledge and experience may be limited. The cost of getting a will varies greatly depending on who you used to do it and more importantly the level of protection you will get will also receive.
1 – Solicitor Wills
All solicitors who draft wills are regulated by the SRA which means that they have Professional Indemnity Insurance for the work that they do and that the quality and service will be governed by the regulator. They will provide the most protection for their work if something goes wrong. In the past cases have shown that the slightest mistake or omission made in the will may have disastrous consequences. If there are uncertainties or misunderstanding I the will and as such disputes arises after your death, the costs of putting this right may be quite substantial.
There may also be areas of the law that you are not aware of that may bring a potential claim in the estate. A solicitor specialised in this area of the law will steer you aware from this risk of this happening.
There are circumstances when it is best to seek advice and not to try and draft your own will and this is particularly so if you are unmarried partners living together and/or own a property together; if you have children from previous relationships; you have a business or live overseas.
Solicitors will tailor make the will to your circumstances and will charge according to the level of advice that is needed. Namely, if inheritance tax planning advice is required, to create and use trusts in order to manage and protect wealth.
Basic Wills can vary from £195 to £250 plus VAT solicitors will advise for more complex ones at approx. £500 and above plus VAT
2 – A Will Writing Service
Will-writing services may offer discounted prices for wills and on the face of it may appear cheaper that solicitors’ fees. You will ned to look closely at the service that is offered. You may be directed to an online platform to draft your will and input the information yourself and this will generate your will and the level of involvement from the providers whether by email, telephone or face to face attendance will vary. They do not have the same level of protection as a firm of solicitor would have towards their clients
If you do want to venture down this route then it is best to used one of the recognised ones that offer indemnity insurance such as the Institute of Professional Will Writers or the Society of Will writers.
A basic will can be as cheap as £100 but some are just as expensive if not more that the prices charged by solicitors so beware with add-ons.
3 – DIY or Home-Made Wills
Not everyone wants to use a solicitor or will drafting company to prepare their will. They may want to do it themselves or ask a friend or relative to help them draft one. This would generally be discouraged by professionals as it is suitable for the simplest of wills. It is usually in the form of a shop bought template or online format.
The danger with this is that if not done correctly, it just takes one mistake in the will or the process of signing to make the whole will invalid.
The approximate costs would be in the region of under £50.
A will is one of the most important documents that you will have to sign in your lifetime. You will not be able to come back to put things right so your intentions, instructions have to be accurately captured and recorded with no room for mistakes.
Contact SCL Wills and Probate on 0203 004 8269 to help you make the right choices.
Don’t put off making a Will!