A will is a legal document that allows you to specify how your possessions (including money, property, personal belongings, and even cars) should be distributed after your death. You can also name guardians for minor children or other dependents and choose trustees to manage your estate. It can also help you mitigate inheritance tax and ensure that your loved ones receive the gifts you want them to.
While it’s possible to write a will without the help of a solicitor, it’s best to seek out one who specialises in this area. They will be able to provide advice and guidance that is tailored to your individual circumstances, so that the final product is a legally valid document that can be relied upon when you pass away. They will also check important things such as whether you have the mental capacity to make a Will in the event that you become mentally ill or elderly and make sure that the document is clear and unambiguous, so there’s no room for misinterpretation. They will keep accurate records of the work they do for you, which can be used to support your wishes if your Will is ever challenged in court.
It might be tempting to save money by using an online Will writing service, but the reality is that these services are often not regulated and the people who run them don’t necessarily have the training that solicitors have had to qualify. They might also have a vested interest in your Will not being challenged, so they are likely to sell you additional services that you may not need or even want.
In addition, if the person writing your Will is not a solicitor, they might not have any professional liability insurance. This could leave your estate vulnerable to claims that they acted negligently or did not follow proper procedure and left you with an invalid Will. It is therefore much safer to use a solicitor who is regulated by the SRA and has professional liability insurance in place to protect you.
Another thing to be aware of is that if you have a spouse or civil partner, they will automatically have a ‘legal right share’ in your estate (unless you specifically exclude them in your Will). It’s therefore best to make your will with someone else so that there is no possibility that it might later be argued that they were acting under pressure and that the Will doesn’t reflect your wishes.
There are several schemes that can help you have a professionally drafted Will for free, or for a suggested donation to charity. For example, the charity Will Aid runs twice a year (in England and Wales). You can book appointments with a solicitor through the scheme and they will draw up your Will for free or for a small fee. However, it’s worth checking that the will writing solicitor near me you are thinking of using is a member of Will Aid before booking an appointment.