Recent research revealed that nearly two thirds of UK adults don’t have a Will. A Will is essential to ensure that your property and assets pass to the people you want to have them after you’re gone. Given the publicity surrounding the high numbers of Brits who haven’t made a Will, it’s not surprising that many people are rushing to find a solution. One of the options is a Will Writer. However, there are some very good reasons why you might want to avoid entrusting your Will to this type of service.
Low cost – or are they?
Many people opt for a Will Writer over a solicitor due to the cost. Will Writers can seem to be a better deal initially. Their fee is usually lower, which makes them appear to be better value. However, there can be a whole range of hidden costs added to your bill with a Will Writer. Plus, you may find that you’re charged annually for storing your Will documents, something most solicitors do for free. Also there is the cost of any errors in your Will. Experience among Will Writers is not consistent and mistakes could be costly for your beneficiaries to sort out.
A lack of transparency in terms of qualifications
If you work with a solicitor to complete your Will then you’re being supported by a specialist with qualifications to a specific required standard. Solicitors have to go through significant training, both at law school and then when in practice. Will Writers, on the other hand, aren’t held to the same standards. There is no central body ensuring that they are properly qualified and it’s difficult to tell what quality of service you’re getting. A Will Writer may have been well trained and have a lot of experience or they may simply have completed a short course.
Protection for clients
Solicitors handle a lot of sensitive matters and there is regulation in place (enforced by the Solicitors Regulation Authority) to ensure that standards are maintained. Will Writers aren’t held accountable in the same way and there are no similar consequences for ethical violations or negligence. As part of their membership of the SRA, solicitors are required to have insurance that indemnifies them for situations, such as giving bad advice or drafting poor documents. This means that there is compensation available from a solicitor if mistakes are made. As Will Writers aren’t required to have this kind of insurance in place there will not necessarily be any protection for clients if errors occur.
If the worst happens…
Just like any other business, a Will Writer company may fold. If the company goes into administration there are no measures in place to safeguard client interests, including retrieving essential, personal documents. If a firm of solicitors goes into administration then the SRA will step into help manage the process (and documents) with the interests of the clients at heart.