Will writing services
Why should I make a will?
Making a will is important, regardless of how many possessions or how much money you may have. It is important to make a will because if you die without one, there are certain rules which dictate how your money, property or possessions will be allocated. This may not be the way that you would have wanted your money and possessions to be distributed
If you have children, making a will allows you to make arrangements for your children in the event that one or both parents die - both in terms of looking after them, and to ensure that whatever is left to them is properly looked after for them until they reach the age you have chosen.
Where there are unmarried partners - and partners who have not registered a civil partnership - they cannot inherit from each other unless there is a will. So the death of one partner may create serious financial problems for the remaining partner.
Wills can also potentially reduce the inheritance tax payable and can protect assets for the family in a variety of circumstances. If you don’t have a will, then the law of intestacy will decide who inherits. This could mean your assets pass to distant family.
It is also really important to review your will every few years, particularly if your circumstances change. For example, if you have separated and your ex-partner now lives with someone else, you may want to change your will. And if you get married or enter into a registered civil partnership, this will make any previous will you have made invalid.
How do I start the process?
Firstly, think about:
- Your money, property and possessions; for example houses, savings, pensions, investments, bank and building society accounts, insurance policies – it might help to list these.
- Who you want to benefit from your will. These people are known as beneficiaries - and whether there are particular items or cash legacies that you want to go to specific individuals or to a charity.
- Who should look after your children until the age of 18.
- Who is going to sort it all out and ensure your wishes are followed as set out in your will. This person or people are known as the executors.
- What you would want to happen if you are not survived by your immediate family.
Then, decide who you would like to help prepare the will. If you ask LCF Law to help, we can send you some information about what to consider. There are a lot of ‘what if?’ questions that you might not have thought about. We can talk through with you what you want to achieve and suggest some of the best ways to do this.
Can I write a will myself?
Yes, it is possible to write your own will, as long as the legal formalities are followed to ensure it is valid. If you chose to do so, be aware that errors might not be picked up until after you have died and this could cause problems for your family. Homemade wills may not clearly deal with all aspects of the estate.
There are, however, some circumstances when it is particularly advisable to use a solicitor. These include where:
- you share a property with someone who is not your husband, wife or civil partner;
- you wish to make specific provision for dependants or have dependants who are unable to care for themselves;
- there are several family members who may make a claim on the will, for example, a second wife or children from a previous marriage or relationship;
- your permanent home is not in the United Kingdom
- you are resident here but there is overseas property involved; and
- there is a business involved
There are plenty of alternatives out there offering professional help, and anybody can provide will-writing services. It is important, therefore, to be confident that the person you are entrusting with this work knows what they are doing. Solicitors are qualified, regulated and insured in case something does go wrong.
Even then it can still be difficult to know if a particular solicitor really is an expert in this field; so look for one who is a fully qualified member of Solicitors for the Elderly, or the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners. Both of these organisations require prospective members to have a certain number of years’ specialist experience in this area and to pass entrance exams. There are details of local members on both their websites.
How much does it cost to make a will?
Will writing costs vary significantly. At LCF Law we offer fixed prices.
A straightforward will for an individual is £321 including VAT; and wills for a couple are £513.60 including VAT.
If you want or need a trust in your will - for example to protect the assets for your children in case the surviving spouse remarries - these wills cost £834.60 including VAT for a couple.
If your circumstances or needs don’t fall within our fixed price list - for example you require inheritance tax planning support and advice - we will discuss what is needed with you and then provide a quote accordingly.
How long does it take to complete my will?
It normally takes 3-4 weeks from receiving your instructions to having the will ready to sign. Normally, we meet to talk through the individual’s circumstances and wishes; prepare a draft for them to review; and then meet again to go through it and sign it.
Some clients, however, may want more time to consider their options, particularly if they have lots of ‘what ifs?’ to consider.
How can we help?
Whatever your will writing requirements, our team at LCF Law has the knowledge and experience to advise and help you to put your affairs in good order so that you can have peace of mind about what will happen to your estate. We aim to work to a fixed price wherever possible and will always discuss with you what we think are your best choices and options for writing your will.
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Our solicitors are ready to help you. Click on Contact Us, use the Contact form above, or send a message direct to one of the team working in this area from their business cards below.