If you want to make a will there are a few options:
- Have a go at it yourself
- Use an unregulated will writer or
- Use a specialist solicitor.
| Can I write my own will?
A will is such an important document that it really is worth doing it properly. The laws surrounding wills and estates are very complicated and there are so many things you could do wrong. Those mistakes can create all sorts of problems for whoever is involved in the estate after your death. The costs of resolving an issues with a problematic will can completely dwarf the costs involved in making a will so my advice is always to make sure it’s done properly.
I don’t think I need to spend much time on option 1 other than to say, please do not do it! Unless you have expertise in will writing, please don’t attempt to draft a will yourself (or one for anybody else for that matter).
So, if we assume you have taken my advice and decided against having a bash yourself, the question is, who do you instruct to carry out this very important task?
| What are the benefits to using a solicitor to write my will?
Firstly, there are some very competent non-solicitor will writers out there. So, I’m not saying that you will necessarily receive a bad service from them. Likewise, I’m not suggesting that all solicitors are going to provide you with a perfect service. However, there are some genuine, clear benefits to using a solicitor:
- You know that a solicitor will have undergone significant legal training, passed many legal exams and participated in continuing development in their area of expertise. This isn’t necessarily going to be the case with a non-solicitor.
- Solicitors are heavily regulated. Among other benefits, this means that there will be set complaints procedures in place. Further, the Legal Ombudsman can investigate any instances of poor service on your behalf.
- Solicitors must carry indemnity insurance. This is extremely important. If there is a problem with a will, it often does not come to light until the person’s death which could be many years away. If a solicitor has been negligent when making a will, there will be a record of the firm’s insurers who can be pursued for any losses. Unfortunately, non-regulated will writers are unlikely to carry such insurance and, if the firm has ceased to trade when the problem arises, there is usually no hope of any redress.
The costs for solicitors and will writers tend to be comparable so there is usually no significant saving in not using a solicitor.
My advice would always be to use a solicitor who specialises in will writing.