Writing a Will means that your wishes are recorded so that when you eventually pass away, your estate can be distributed exactly as you wanted.
All too often solicitors come across poorly drafted Wills that either don’t make sense, don’t achieve the person’s wishes or simply are not valid at all.
There are a few ways to make a Will; yourself, through a Will writer or with a solicitor.
This blog will examine each of these possibilities and their benefits.
Do I Really Need A Solicitor To Write A Will?
Whilst on the face of it, a DIY Will kit or visiting a Will writer may be cheaper, bear in mind potential hidden charges and the costly legal processes associated with problematic Wills.
Whoever you decide to trust with such an important document, it is always important to ‘Mind the Gap’ and be aware of the difference in these services.
DIY Will Packs
Many people choose to try and write their own Wills, with varying degrees of success.
The Wills Act itself dates back to 1837, and has been amended various times over the years, making the most up to date legislation and case law, difficult to find.
If you buy a DIY Will pack, you are paying for a Will template that you can complete yourself.
Usually, this is very simple and will include basic advice to ensure that you at least sign the document correctly.
Whilst this option may be appropriate for some, any inconsistencies or unclear wording could cause big problems. These problems would usually only come to light once you have passed away, and then no one is able to know for certain what you were trying to achieve.
Will writers are companies who offer Will writing services.
Will writers need no formal training or qualifications, and although most will have undertaken some type of course at some point, they are not required to do so.
The courses offered to “become a Will writer” are also usually no longer than a week, a far cry from a 3-year law degree.
This also means that they will not necessarily have knowledge of other areas of law.
However, you may find that a Will writer is an ex-Lawyer, who no longer wants to be regulated by their respective body or perhaps who can no longer be regulated as they cannot meet the professional requirements.
Some Will Writers may choose to self-regulate, meaning they will voluntarily sign themselves up to one of the various Will writing “groups” and agree to work in certain ways to a certain standard. There may also be a requirement for them to hold Professional Indemnity Insurance. However, the majority remain unregulated and uninsured, so there is no requirement for them to keep up to date with the law.
Will Writing Solicitors
When you visit a law firm to make a Will, the person responsible for the work will ultimately be a solicitor, who has undertaken years of training to achieve their qualification.
Lawyers are regulated and so to continue to practice, they have to abide by certain codes of conduct, best practice and complete ongoing professional development.
If they do not comply with these regulations, there are repercussions. They can be fined, stripped of their practicing rights, or even given a prison sentence.
Will writing solicitors will continually monitor changes in the law and apply this knowledge to the Wills they write.
They usually specialise in the area of “Private Client”, which also encompasses:
Solicitors are also trained in and may even practice other areas of law, meaning if your situation is slightly different to the “standard” such as you own a business, or you are going through a divorce, they have a scope of legal knowledge to take these factors into account.
They may also have colleagues who work in other areas of law who can provide helpful input.
One of the main concerns people have when making a Will is whether it can be contested.
The simple answer is that a Will can be contested regardless of who wrote it.
It may be that this was always going to happen, regardless of how your Will was written, because of family differences.
If you have used a DIY Will pack, it is unlikely that you would have kept any other notes of your intentions. If your Will was prepared by a Will writer, hopefully they will have notes of their discussions with you, but remember they are not regulated, so there is no requirement to keep these records.
If the Will writer has made an error, your loved ones could bring a claim against the Will writer in a civil court case.
Usually, Will writers are small companies and if the errors in the Will mean they lose out on a large inheritance, it is unlikely that the Will writing business will be able to compensate the loss. It is not unknown for Will writing companies facing civil proceedings to go into liquidation, only to re-open a few weeks later under a slightly amended name.
Monan Gozzett’s Will Writing Services
Stephen is a full member of STEP (the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners), a full member of Solicitors for the Elderly, and holds the STEP Advanced Certificate in Will Preparation in which he achieved the highest mark in the country in 2014 and 2015.
Unlike many small firms we have litigation experts with significant experience in contentious probate matters, so we are well able to understand the issues that could crop up and have the expertise to address these.
You will not be able to defend a claim brought against your own estate, making it extremely important to address any concerns and problems you may have head-on.
As an additional safeguard, all our Will instruction meetings are recorded, so that if there is ever any contest of your intentions, we have evidence of you explaining what you want to happen, in your own words.
Contact our team today if you would like to find out more information about our Will writing services.