Why Use A Solicitor?
There are times where it is particularly important that a solicitor is involved in writing a will. These include:
- You own assets overseas
- You run a business (which possibly forms part of your estate).
- You will pay Inheritance Tax ( If your estate is valued at over £325,000 for an individual or up to £650,000 for a married couple).
- Your family set up is complicated ( do you have several ex spouses, children with different partners, or care for vulnerable individuals or minors).
Have a clear idea what you want to happen to your assets when you die. Let your solicitor knows what you want to leave and to whom you want to leave it. This way:
- You are protected if problems arise. Solicitors are regulated which means if any problems arise you can make a complaint. If the solicitor’s firm doesn’t deal with your complaint in a satisfactory manner, you can go to the Legal Ombudsman.
- You can be confident of a legally binding will. Simple but common problems such as using an invalid witnesses or signing in the wrong place could mean your will is not valid. Using a solicitor will minimise the risk of small things having big consequences.
- Complicated tasks are taken care of. Laws on inheritance are complicated. They include sections on Inheritance Tax and trusts which solicitors are familiar with. This takes the responsibility of expertise away from you and into the hands of a professional.
- Your will is retained safely. A solicitor that helps you write a will usually stores the original for you.
A solicitor can:
- Explain all options surrounding the most cost effective ways to distribute your assets.
- Advise on all the areas of law surrounding will making.
- Write your will in a legally binding manner ensuring your peace of mind.
- Give a clear indication and a break down of costs at an early stage.
Solicitors as Executors
It is up to you whether to appoint your solicitor as your executor, meaning they will handle the arrangements for the distribution of your estate when you die.
How Much Does it Cost to Make a Will?
The price of making a will depends on several factors such as how complex your estate and family circumstances are. Different areas have different prices too. However, in general, the cost of drawing up a will by a solicitor are as follows:
- A simple will – this can cost from as little as £99. Different firms offer different services so make sure you know what you are paying for and all that is included.
- A complex will – this can cost between £150 and £300. If you have been divorced and have children your will may be a bit more complex.
- A specialist will – this could involve trusts or overseas properties. Maybe you need tax planning advice. This could cost at least £500 to £600.
- A mirror will – costs for this are usually less than doing individual wills. They are worth considering if you and your spouse want the same (mirror) wills.
The Legal Services Board suggests that there are large potential savings from shopping around and comparing services for will services. Don’t settle for the first quote you are given, contact a few others to see if they can beat it. Shopping around can save you £100s. Always try and find a quality service for a realistic price.
Some solicitors offer fixed fee wills, where a will or a pair of wills are offered to clients for a fee that doesn’t change as time goes on. This means that when you are quoted the price of £175 before your appointment, that’s exactly how much it will cost regardless of what you want including.
Using a solicitor that offers fixed fee wills means that you can budget for your will without any nasty surprises when you receive your bill. This is quite an attractive prospect considering its not an expense one finds appealing in the first place.
Some firms offer discounts for over 65s too, so keep a lookout for special offers.
Why do People Think it’s Expensive to Make a Will With a Solicitor?
Some people avoid using solicitors when making a will and choose to go it alone. Cheap internet offers can make legitimate will writing services look expensive when in fact the fee simply reflects the service on offer.
Many people also assume that they are not wealthy enough to have people arguing over what they are left or that they haven’t got assets valuable enough to justify the cost of making a will. On the other hand, other people have many assets and believe a will will be more expensive as a result of this. A fixed fee will writing service will with a specialist solicitor can alleviate concerns with all of these factors.
The key is searching for the right quote for you. A fixed fee will writing service usually includes an initial appointment, the drafting of a Will, and liaising with you to ensure your Will meets with your instructions and attending upon
Questions to ask your will writing solicitor:
Is there a consultation fee? Some lawyers offer a free consultation which is a good way to assess their services before committing to anything.
How do you price your services? Different lawyers give different estimates for what is what looks for all intents and purposes, like the same services. So ask this question you and the answer may help you to decide. One firm may have a lot of experience in drafting Wills, others may have other financial incentives like free re-drafts. Experience, skill and location are just three reasons why prices can differ.
Can costs change? How will I know? Sometimes, circumstances impact on how much a will costs. A Complex Will that needs drafting and dictates a number of beneficiaries can drive the cost right up. However, cost changes do not necessarily mean an increase in overall price.
Remember writing a will isn’t a legal obligation and therefore not an essential outlay but in the long term can be a very cost effective way of protecting you and your loved ones in the future. The cost of not having a will could be far greater.