With so many Will Writing Options out there it can be hard to choose who to trust when creating such an important legal document. Read on to see which points you should consider.
First and foremost, you should check the qualifications of whoever is drafting your Will. Mistakes can be very costly to your loved ones and are incredibly difficult to rectify after your death. The quality of those qualifications is also particularly important.
Sadly, there are lots of companies who describe themselves as being “qualified” when in actual fact they may have only completed a 1-day course or a 1-week course whereas someone who has completed a law degree or equivalent will have trained and studied for a number of years. Law is an extremely complex area, so it is important to see evidence of people’s qualifications. Anyone who has studied hard for their qualifications will always be happy to ‘show off’ their certificates so don’t be afraid to ask.
Look for people who are members of certain bodies or who are regulated. Solicitors are regulated by the SRA and other professionals may be regulated by CILEx or be members of the Institute of Professional Will Writers or the Society of Will Writers. The latter two have different entry level requirements so it is important to check what grade of membership the person holds – confusingly, someone who is a ‘full’ member may have only completed very basic qualifications whereas someone who holds the Associate or Fellow grade of membership will have more experience and greater degree of technical knowledge.
The cost of Will Writing Services can vary massively. From £19.99 bargain options to Wills that run into thousands of pounds it is hard to know what option is right. Do you always “get what you pay for”? One thing to consider is if you were selling your home would you be happy to pay £19.99 for the conveyancing work? If the answer is ‘no’ a £19.99 option for a Will is probably not a good idea either – essentially you are transferring the same asset.
Similarly, if you are being quoted thousands of pounds to write a Will, chances are someone may be taking advantage. Sadly, because the Will Writing industry is unregulated there are lots of unscrupulous people who are always happy to take advantage, especially of those who are more vulnerable. As a guide Will Writing companies tend to be cheaper than solicitors but because Will writing is unregulated it is especially important to do your research and check that they are suitably qualified.
It is important that you feel comfortable with whoever is drafting your Will and they should be able to explain your options to you clearly and concisely. You need to understand the document you will be signing. By the same token, being personable alone is not enough – just because someone is nice / pleasant doesn’t mean they are necessarily the right person for the job so their background, experience and qualifications should also be considered.
Whilst you hope to never have to rely on their insurance you should check that the person you choose to use holds Professional Indemnity Insurance.
Alarm Bells: Be wary of the following:
- Companies who appoint themselves as Executors.
- Companies who do not talk to you to take your instructions.
- Companies who won’t agree to a fixed fee upfront.
- Companies who are not prepared to send copies of their qualifications and insurance.
Questions to ask:
- What qualifications do you hold?
- How long have you been practising?
- What experience do you have?
- Can I see your qualifications?
- Can I see your insurance?
- Are you a member of any professional bodies? If so, what grade of membership do you hold?
- Do you work on a fixed fee basis?
A Will is one of the most important documents you will ever create so it is important that you get it right. Sadly, you will never know you have a bad Will, but your family will. A little bit of time doing your homework now could save your family a lot of hassle in the long run.
Or, if you’d rather arrange a face to face appointment: