Once you have decided that you want to and need to write a Will, you need to decide who will write it for you or indeed whether you make a DIY Will. As a Wills and Probate Lawyer, I am often asked why Solicitors are more expensive than Will Writers and what is the benefit of having a Will written by a Solicitor as opposed to a Will Writer or a Will writing kit you can buy.
The answer is you won’t know whether your Will has been written properly until it is needed to be put into effect. As this will be after death, it is too late to put mistakes right. In the meantime, you will have a false sense of security thinking that the Will you have is right and that your Estate will pass to those you have chosen.
Gillian Guy of Citizens Advice says ‘When Wills go wrong, people may lose their only source of income, children may be left without a carer, property is left in limbo and the financial and emotional cost of dealing with the fallout is massive…The lack of regulation means that people currently have no way of knowing whether the person writing their Will is a reputable Solicitor or just a chancer with no qualification’.
Due to a lack of regulation anyone can call themselves a ‘Will Writer’ but in fact have no training, qualifications, knowledge or experience to do a good job.
I have come across many clients and relatives of those who have died who have had Wills written by someone who is not qualified and where the wording of the Will either fails to meet requirements or is simply wrong! This causes many complications for those left behind. I am sure that the people who had the incorrect Wills had no idea that their Will was inadequate and were safe in the knowledge they had done the right thing by making a Will.
You can buy a DIY Will writing kit almost anywhere nowadays – from the supermarket, from stationers and online. They come with information to help you fill in the form and pick the correct wording. However, if you do not know what the correct wording is you will have no way of knowing that what you have written is wrong. Some of the mistakes I have seen in DIY Wills include not appointing executors to deal with your estate, not identifying beneficiaries correctly and not listing substitute provisions should your first choice fail for any reason. So, a DIY Will may not deal with all the circumstances in your estate correctly thereby leaving your estate in limbo.
Using a qualified Solicitor you are guaranteed a professional service from a person who is qualified to prepare your Will properly. All Solicitors are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, they are required to have at least £2 million of professional indemnity insurance and contribute to a compensation fund so if you have used a Solicitor and things go wrong, your beneficiaries have redress.
Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors provides a free storage facility to store your Will free of charge for as long as you want us to store it (we can store your deeds too). Some Will Writers may quote a cheaper price to write your Will but will charge an annual storage fee. Finally, Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors is a member of Certainty National Will Register, so your Will will be registered on the national database, you will be issued with a registration certificate and if anyone in the future is looking for your Will they will be referred to us.
So, whilst taking the cheaper route may be appealing I recommend that you make sure that your Will is written correctly taking into account all the circumstances by instructing a Solicitor. Saving a few pounds now may be costly to put right later.
My team and I (Dagmara Kulczykowska) can assist you or your relatives to get your Will right – call us for further advice on 01908 689 317.