Cost Of A Will?

A will is the means by which an individual (one making a will is known as a testator) sets out what is to happen to their assets on death.

The cost of a simple will may range from £20 for a ‘do it yourself’ (DIY) product to several thousand pounds for a document drafted by a solicitor, at an hourly rate.

In the case of DIY options there is typically no direct support during the process. Since clarity of intent is central to an effective will, problems may arise leading to future failure. Conversely, the time taken to establish such clarity with a solicitor, may be great. Moreover, several elements of the will writing process are fairly arcane and it is certainly possible to fall foul of technical error, even with the best of intent.

Professional will writing services offer intermediate options (typically in the £1-200) range. These may include face to face meetings, in which a trained advisor seeks to understand your position and wishes prior to drafting. Such organisations are often associated with trade bodies and should be selected with care.

The value of face to face interaction when conveying complex information cannot be underestimated. Humans simply have not evolved to communicate only verbally, this is why translation into words of seemingly simple wishes, in a manner capable of withstanding all contingencies, is prized and lawyers costly.


The Cost of no Will?

Dying with no will whatever, is known as ‘intestacy’.  The impact of this on those you leave, is entirely dependent on your personal circumstance and their character. There is a legal process by which your estate is allocated. In the case of a small estate’s being left to a sole heir or spouse, the process might prove perfectly adequate. Where the estate is larger, or family arrangements more complex, key individuals, in need of care, may be neglected. Seek advice on the matter if possible.

A poorly drafted will, may actually prove more harmful, than one’s absence. Challenges to wills in court routinely attract six figure legal fees, the 60% rise in such cases seen last year has been attributed to the use of DIY systems. The reasons for challenge broadly relate to either technical issues (improper drafting/execution) or the will’s content (concerning, for example, who has been left what, and how it has been done).

It is worth remembering, however, that impropriety might be perceived, even when not pursued legally. Simmering resentments may thus colour interactions between grieving loved ones at an emotionally charged time. I myself have seen families rent apart in such cases, years of ensuing silence, arguably outstripping the harm of a costly but potentially cathartic court case.

A good will writer will seek to understand your position, your wishes and the reasons underlying intent, reflecting these in a document which is practical, robust and sensitive.

For more information or to book a consultation feel free to get in touch-