25 Jun I need a will: what are my options?
There comes a time in our life when we should write our will. It may not be something we want to think about, but it is something that needs to be done, particularly if there are children or other dependents involved as you will want to make sure they are looked after in the event of your death. There are a number of ways in which you could tackle this. This month’s article analyses the three most common ways of preparing your will and looks at the pros and cons of each.
Writing it yourself
Perhaps one of the most common ways to prepare your will and probably the most common to be still sitting in the drawer a number of years waiting to be done. There are a number of pre-prepared packs on the market that will provide some basic guidance and examples to help you, or you could start with a blank sheet of paper. What is important is that you write down how you want your assets distributed and how your children or other dependents are to be looked after. What are the pros and cons of this option?
- It is inexpensive and can be done at any time
- It works best if your situation is straightforward without any complications
- You can prepare your will and have it checked by a professional – this will incur a fee but will still be cheaper than asking them to create the full document
- In reality the majority of people still never get around to it.
Asking a solicitor to write it for you
An alternative, particularly if your circumstances are more complex, is to ask a solicitor to prepare your will for you. Complex circumstances could involve having overseas assets, being responsible for a family member or friend with particular needs that you want to ensure is taken care of, or having a former partner and/or children from a previous relationship. The pros and cons of asking a solicitor to prepare your will are:
- It is usually the most expensive option
- It gives you advice on how best to work around complex situations
- They can advise on whether or not trusts are appropriate for you
- They can typically also store your will as part of the fee because they are looking to obtain probate in the future
- Solicitors are regulated and qualified
- Some Solicitors do not write as many Wills as they deal with other legal matters
- Check the small print to make sure you are not tied in to giving them sole right to execute your will as this could mean high charges later on.
A third option is to seek the services of a will writer. While they are not solicitors, they can offer the same guidance and also typically specialise in dealing with just wills, whereas the average Solicitor in London might deal with Conveyancing, divorce and other legal matters.. The pros and cons of this option are:
- It is typically cheaper than hiring a solicitor. Costs start from around £120 plus VAT.
- Always look for someone who is a member of a recognised professional body, such as the Society of Willwriters and Estate Planning Practitioners. This also means that they are more likely to have insurance cover, giving you some recourse if things go wrong
- Most Willwriters will see you out of normal working hours
- Most Willwriters will visit you at home without charging for a premium service.
Make sure you get a few quotes and compare like with like to weed out the very cheap, special limited time offers or very expensive ones.
Need some help or advice in preparing your will? Our team at Probate London is qualified and experienced and ready to help. Get in touch with us on 020 8017 1029 for a no-obligation quote and we can go from there.