From eighteen years of age a will is important. At any agea will tells everyone what you want to happen to your money, possessions and property and makes it much easier for your family and loved ones to sort everything out when you die.

Your money, possessions, and property after you have passed is known as your ‘estate’,and without a willthe law dictates how it is shared out, this is done in a standard way, which might not be the way you would have wanted. The standard way is called the law of intestacy.

From eighteen years of age a will is important. At any agea will tells everyone what you want to happen to your money, possessions and property and makes it much easier for your family and loved ones to sort everything out when you die.

Your money, possessions, and property after you have passed is known as your ‘estate’,and without a willthe law dictates how it is shared out, this is done in a standard way, which might not be the way you would have wanted. The standard way is called the law of intestacy.

Quick summary of the many reason’sa will is so important.

  • You are in control of what happens to your ‘estate’ (money, possessions & property) posthumously
  • A will controls who benefits financially from your estate, but you also say who you want in charge of organising this – this person, or persons,are known as the executor(s).
  • A will looks after your children and family who rely on you financially. Or you may wish to leave money to a friend who needs it, orto a charity close to your heart.
  • As well as providing for children financially, if they are under 18 you can nominate a legal guardian(s) in a will.
  • If you are not married or in a civil partnership,but share property, money and possessions,a will can ensure your estate goes to your partner.
  • Takes any stress and tension away from your family and loved ones (well unless you leave your entire estate to Fred, the Milk-man)
  • Not writing a will means your estate will be shared out in the standard way defined by law (law of intestacy)
  • A will can help reducethe amount of Inheritance Tax that might be payable on your property and money you leave behind, particularly if your estate is worth £325,000 or over.

If you have specific instructions on your funeral, for example, if you want to be buried or cremated. A will can make your wishes clear

Will-drafting: Where? Who? And How?

There are several different ways to get a will and these options come with varying protection and different price tags, from very little to 000’s. There are even charitable free options that most people can take advantage of.

Levels of protection and avoiding (or not avoiding) problems in the future stems from the fact will-drafting is not a regulated sector. While you don’t have to use a solicitor, a will is a legal document and can be deemed invalid if mistakes are made.

Your will-drafting options are:

  • A solicitor drafted will
  • A will-writing service/ will-drafter
  • Write a will yourself

A solicitor-drafted will

A solicitor-drafted will provides greater peace of mind, omitting common mistakes people may make when writing a will themselves.
Wills are not always simple, as some family situations and estate matters are complicated, for example, with the law surrounding inheritances, taxes and trusts. A solicitor know show to help you and make your will clear and airtight, as per your wishes.

There is protection if something goes wrong. Solicitors are regulated by the SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority) You can complain to the legal firm that drafted your will, and if not resolved you can go to the Legal Ombudsman.

When should I use a Solicitor?
If your estate is over £325,000 and you might have to pay inheritance tax, you have a complicated family situation, you have overseas property or if you simply want to discuss your options with an expert to make the most effective choices.

What are the costs?
Cost depends on what you need, but as a guide from the Legal Service Board you can expect to pay for a single / simple will, between £144 and £240. For a specialist will in the region of £500 to £600. A plus to using a solicitor is, it normally comes with free storage – and you get a copy.

A will-writing service

Will writing services provide peace of mind compared to writing a will yourself and it’s a cheaper alternative to a solicitor.
Considered the job title ‘will experts’ or ‘will specialists’, they are skilled at discussing your situation with you, but note they are ‘experts’ in an unregulated industry.

Will writers should be members of certain organisations or trade bodies such as, the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, the Institute of Professional Will writers (IPW) or the Society of Will Writers (SWW), however these organisations tend of be voluntary, they cannot officially regulate as they more enforce codes of good industry standards on their company members. You can take complaints to them about a firm, but stand slim to no chance of getting a redress.

That said,IPW and SWW members have professional indemnity insurance – at least £2 million in the case of IPW firms – which may provide compensation if something goes wrong.

When should I use a will-writing service?

Use a will writing service if you find a company that you really like and if your estate and family situation is quite straightforward. It may be convenient, as different providers offer different ways of drafting your will which might suit you: online based – using digital tools to draft your will. And for the elderly, when permitted and in normal circumstance, a home visit is often possible.

What are the costs?

As a rough starting price for a single,it could cost £75- £90. You’ll pay extra for a couples will and services like storing your will are often not included and vary per provider, so do shop around and research the best company for you.

Write your will yourself

This is the biggest money-saving option by far. Probably the riskiest as mistakes have been known to happen, for example names of people spelt incorrectly, or wishes about an estate not being explained clearly. When writing a will your self be mindful you are on your own if things go wrong.

To write a will yourself use a template available from most stationary shops or online

When should I write my own will?

If your estate and family situation is simple and straightforward and you really do not want or do not have the spare cash for a solicitor or will writing service. Ensure as well as your instructions being clear, it is dated and witnessed correctly. Any previously dated,home-drafted wills should be disposed of.

What are the costs?

A basic will template can cost as little as £10.

Also look online for options like Your Will Be Done from £27 for a single will.  Also allows you to update your will for free for life. There is an additional £27 charge if you want to have your will checked by a solicitor member of the Society of Will Writers.