If you’re considering making a Will in order to safeguard and guarantee your family’s long-term future, who’s the best person to consult? The answer is a solicitor. We would say that, wouldn’t we? Yet, this is not a recommendation we’re making for ourselves: this is a recommendation based on a survey by the highly respected organisation Will Aid – a special partnership between the legal profession and 9 of the UK’s best-loved charities.
So what did Will Aid’s survey find? Well, it found that 62 per cent of the people polled backed solicitors as the best option when it comes to making a Will. What’s more the same number believed that only by using the services of a solicitor could they guarantee that their wishes were fully met.
According to Will Aid’s research, 62 per cent of people who made a Will last year used a solicitor and 12 per cent a will-writer. A further 9 per cent made a homemade Will while others used DIY kits or banks or high street services. The research also revealed that the public were generally unaware of the rules and regulations governing will-writers, or that a will-writer is able to practise without proper training, regulation or insurance.
Speaking about the survey, Peter de Vena Franks, Will Aid’s campaign director, said that the organisation was hoping to continue working in partnership with the legal profession in encouraging the public not to use DIY Will kits:
‘Drawing up a will is a vital financial planning step but the lure of the cheaper alternatives to solicitors can mean the document is not properly written, nor legally binding,’ he said.
‘While an off-the-shelf will might seem attractive to those who are watching the pennies, it could be money wasted rather than saved,’ he added.
There’s no legal requirement to have a solicitor draw up a Will. You can write your own, but we would caution against this for one very good reason: self-written Wills are only really appropriate for the simplest cases where everything is straightforward. Unfortunately very few things in life, or in death, are that straightforward or back and white. In most cases of estate management the issues are grey. If you truly want peace of mind and reassurance, then our advice is to consult a qualified solicitor. A solicitor will design your Will in precisely the way you want and ensure that all of your wishes are carried out after your death. A solicitor will also ensure that no technical mistakes are made, and that there will also be no unintended potential disputes stored up for the future. What’s more, all solicitors are fully qualified and work under strict guidelines regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Under what circumstances would you need a solicitor’s advice?
- Where you share a property with someone who is not your husband, wife or civil partner.
- Where you wish to make provision for a dependant who is unable to care for themselves.
- Where there are several family members who may make a claim on the will, for example, a second wife or children from a first marriage.
- Where your permanent home is not in the United Kingdom.
- Where you are a domiciled resident, but there is overseas property involved in the Will.
- Where there is a business involved.
- Where the estate is likely to exceed the inheritance tax threshold.
- Where consideration needs to be given to trusts which could protect your property from future charges.
- Where consideration needs to be given towards the effects of future inheritance.
- Where consideration needs to be given towards Powers of Attorney.
- Where there are likely to be issues and concerns about life policies.
- Where there may need to be some thought given to the issues of guardianship if there are likely to be dependent children left behind.
- Where decisions will need to be made about making monies available to the guardians of these dependent children.
For further help or information about Wills and estate management, contact Harold Stock & Co Solicitors on 01457 835597 or email email@example.com.