What does it matter Who writes your Will?
Will writing is not currently a regulated industry, but it’s a very complicated one. And can have pretty huge consequences if things go wrong. Being un-regulated does mean anyone can write your Will – including yourself! Which means there’s plenty of choice out there, and that it’s important to know how to decide Who writes your Will.
The obvious place to start is qualifications or industry backing. Although not mandatory, a big portion of Will writers are members of professional bodies. These bodies set standards which their members must adhere to such as training levels, complaints procedures or insurance. Specialist Will writers have a couple of bodies to choose from, such as Institute of Professional Will writers (IPW) or the Society of Will writers. We chose the Institute of Professional Will writers (IPW) as their core values and views supported ours. To be a member we had to complete training, no matter what our staff personal experience or background was, and pass exams. We also must follow their set regulations and standards – which are approved by Trading Standards, and cover our documentation, complaints procedure and ongoing training. We also always have to have comprehensive insurance in place. If the Will writer you’re researching has this type of membership it should give you reassurance that they not only know what they’re doing, they’ve invested a great deal of time and care to be able to do it. It also means there is a support system in place just in case anything was to go wrong.
Who should write your Will?
The next factor when researching Who should write your Will is price! To be honest that might be the first real consideration factor, and that’s really understandable. You can pay as little as £50 for a “professionally” drafted Will, and the sky is the upper limit. So how can price guide you? Well, be sure to ask about additional costs, not just if VAT is included, but are guardian details included as standard? Is there supporting advice available from the provider during the process? Does that cost extra? Do additional Trusts cost extra? Suddenly the £50 Will could cost hundreds. There are websites available where you input your info and a Will is produced for you, the cost is on the lower end of the spectrum – but the 2 way support is minimal, so the Will might not be as robust or future proof as it could be, so chances are it might need re-drafting in 10/15 years’ time. Over the rest of your lifetime that cost could really add up. Other key questions are around the ongoing support – will your draftsperson contact you if the inheritance laws change and impact on your plans or would you need to keep an eye out for that yourself? How much and how easy would it be to go back to them for an amendment?
So assuming you’ve found an approved Will writer, at the right price, before getting started take a moment to check they suit you. Are they going to come to your house, at a convenient time? (is there a convenient time to have people in?!) Or are you going to see them in their office, will you need to take time off work? Pay for parking? And once your Will is completed, do you feel confident you can contact this same person or company again to check a change of circumstances in the future? Are they easy/free to contact? Are they approachable?
Public awareness of the need to have a Will is on the increase
The public perception of the Will writing industry is that it’s generally run by older people, as it’s for older people. However the public awareness of the need to have a Will is on the increase; with celebrities passing away with no Wills in place. Our average age of client is 10 years younger than the national average. If you’re considering Who should write your Will, here’s our main values and business methods to help with your research and hopefully shortlist us, but maybe rule us out;
We are proud members of the IPW and have passed the exams required to write in English and Scottish law with experience in both. We have experience and additional qualifications in the banking and finance industry, as well as retired solicitors and professional Trustees as part of our team. Regulation would be our Mastermind specialist subject.
Highly recommended, honest service with clear pricing
Our pricing structure is based on Clear Pricing, we include as much of the most common ‘additional’ needs as standard. We set out our prices on our website and if any additional work is advised it is always fully explained and quoted along with the consequences if it were to not be included, so our clients can make informed choices. We understand that writing your Will isn’t cheap, so we focus on writing our Wills with longevity, we provide advice to help layer your wishes to try and reduce the need for re-drafts or amendments. We also have a Payment Spread option available to try and make Wills and Power of Attorneys more accessible to more people.
We try to be as accessible, and as approachable as possible
We work over the phone – we feel this is less intrusive and also maximises our availability and efficiency. It also means we work later in to the evenings so you can talk to us after the kids have gone to bed, but without having to tidy the toys away first. Or you can get home and eat dinner after a long day at work before talking to us. We like to think we are a very down to earth bunch, and use our experience to simplify things rather than make them more advanced. We have a follow up system in place to maintain contact with our clients, regular contact markers are set depending on each clients circumstances and stage of life. All of our clients have the mobile number for their draftsperson, as well as the office and are instructed to contact us for changes in circumstances/relationships even if it’s just to confirm no amendments need to be made. So when your lottery numbers come in, and you need to know how that might impact your Will wishes, we’re only ever a phone call away!
Advice is free, so please do get in touch with any questions, we’re happy to help.
Also thank you to the very talented Philippa Matthews for an inspiring image of the lighthouse at Dungeness to accompany this blog.