If you die without a will in place, your estate will be equally distributed to your nearest family members in accordance with intestacy rules. Whilst this may be what you wish for, if it isn’t people may benefit from your estate against your intentions. For example, if you have remarried or were living with a different partner, you may find that your children from a previous relationship don’t receive any inheritance.
In addition, any adopted, fostered or step-children don’t benefit and if you wanted to make a donation to a charity or a gift to a charitable organisation, that won’t happen either.
Currently, around 31 million people in the UK don’t have a written will in place, which demonstrates how important it is to get a will drawn up. However, it is not always an easy job to do, particularly if you have multiple assets and/or assets overseas. Getting help and advice from experienced, professional will writing services ensures you have protected your estate and the right people benefit.
What is a will?
Your will is a legally-binding document that sets out your wishes and details who inherits your estate upon your death. The will can also include the type of funeral you would like, who should raise your children if you die before they reach the age of 18, as well as any other instructions.
It is possible to write your own will using one of the many self-service will packs available or online services. However, if it isn’t correctly prepared, signed and witnessed or includes the right legal terminology that clearly states this is your last will and testament, that you are of sound mind and your wishes have been detailed in the will, it may be invalid.
To avoid this happening, it is always better to invest in professional will writing services to ensure the validity of your will. But how much is it going to cost you?
The average cost of will writing services
How much it costs you to have your will written depends on the method you choose, i.e. writing a will yourself with the guidance of a will writing pack, writing your will online or hiring will writing services. What also adds to the cost is the complexity of your estate. For example, if your estate includes a portfolio of properties or overseas assets, there may be additional costs.
To draw up a simple will for a small to average size estate will cost between £150 and £250, depending on the will writing service you choose. For more complex and large estates, expect to pay around £500 for a professional will writing service. If you are making a joint will with someone, i.e. a spouse or civil partner, you will probably pay a little bit more as it is a lengthier process.
You can either opt for a will writing professional or a solicitor that specialises in writing wills. They are also able to keep your will stored safely to ensure it doesn’t get lost. However, the will writing service you select shouldn’t be based on cost alone.
Why use a will writing service?
Whether you choose a solicitor or a professional will writer, or whether you have a small or large, complex estate, there are plenty of benefits to using a will writing service.
- Ensures your will is legally binding – possibly one of the most important aspects to using a will writing service is that the relevant legal terminology will be used, thereby ensuring your will is valid. One of the drawbacks of using a will writing kit is that important elements are often left out, such as being of sound mind, which can either invalidate your will or it can be successfully contested by people who may have been left out of your will as beneficiaries.
- Keeps it up-to-date – by using a solicitor or a will writing service, you will be reminded by them when it is time to review your will to make sure it is up-to-date. It is recommended that wills are reviewed on a regular basis, not only to make sure it is compliant with the latest regulations but also to ensure all your intended beneficiaries are listed. For example, you may have another child, re-marry, adopt or foster a child, or even fall out with a family member and wish to change who benefits from your estate.
- Act as an executor – the executor’s role is a time-consuming and sometimes complicated one. If you have an executor who is willing to take on the job, naming the solicitor or will writing professional as a co-executor releases some of the pressure on other executor(s) as at least one of your executors has the right knowledge and experience to handle the legal matters on behalf of your estate’s beneficiaries. Alternatively, you may not wish to put the burden of managing your estate after your death on a family relative or spouse/civil partner and instructing the solicitor or will writing professional as an executor is a better option. However, bear in mind that should you choose either of these options, there will be an additional cost so make sure it is clear what the charge is likely to be.
- Comprehensive advice and guidance – writing your will can be a challenging task, whether you have a small estate or a large, complex one. Their sound legal advice and guidance you receive from a will writing specialist can help significantly if there are investments overseas, multiple assets (or divorces!) or a business. In addition, because solicitors are regulated, should anything go wrong you are completely protected, giving you additional peace of mind.
At Norfolk Will Writing, we have been helping our clients write their wills and assisting executors of estates manage the probate process for over 20 years. We offer a personalised service, keeping the process as simple and easy as possible. Our experienced consultants are on hand to guide you at every step. Contact us for your free consultation and to book an appointment with one of our consultants to discuss writing your will today or carrying out your executor duties.