Will writing is not currently regulated so anyone can write a Will. If you want to, you can write a Will yourself by picking up a will pack from your local post office or newsagents. It is also now possible to attend a course to learn how to write a Will in a day, for around £100 and after this, some people even set up their own Will writing business. But, would you want a legal document putting in place for you on this basis? Our advice would be not to do so especially when you might not even be receiving regulated legal advice.
Why use a solicitor instead of a Will writer?
There are several reasons why people decide not to use a solicitor which include cost, time, the legal jargon used and the formality. Whilst some of these things can be off-putting, there is no guarantee that they will not occur even when using a Will writer. The cost of using a solicitor may be slightly more than the average Will writer, however, what you get for your money is peace of mind.
Solicitors are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and are therefore accountable and traceable if their firm shuts down. Solicitors are insured so if errors are made, the insurance company will be able to cover any loss. Solicitors will also have trained for a number of years in a specialist area so you are therefore paying not only for the drafting of the Will, but also for their advice allowing you to make an informed decision as to the type of Will you need.
Furthermore, solicitors have to abide by a code of conduct and act in the individual’s best interests and therefore the way in which your matter is dealt with (including turnaround times) should be quicker. With regard to costs, it will very much depend on the expertise of your solicitor.
Top tips when making a Will:
- Choose a solicitor who specialises in Wills and probate;
- Look for additional accreditations such as; The Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners (STEP), an international organisation which requires individuals to have additional training in this area of law, and Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) a national community of trusted advisers who have additional skills to enable them to work with older and vulnerable individuals.
For more information on making a Will or any other wills and wealth planning matters, please contact Helen Gowin in our Wills, Trusts and Probate team on 01260 282351.