When you’re considering making a will, there are three main options available to you: write your own, use a solicitor, or employ a will-writing service.
There are clear pros and cons to each, and your choice may depend on your current circumstances.
Write your own will
In the UK, you can legally write your own will. However, according to government guidance
, ‘you should get advice if your will is not straightforward.’
- Low cost or free
- Adequate for small, simple estates
Cost is the main advantage to DIY-ing your own will. Since you’re not seeking professional, legal assistance, you’re only paying for a generic kit, which can be bought online. They’re usually only worth pursuing if you have a very small and simple estate with one or two beneficiaries. For example, if you and your partner own a property together and you wish to leave them your half of the property after you pass away.
- Not protected and may not be valid
are no good for large or complex estates – especially if you own a business or foreign property. However, the main issue with writing your own will is that it may not be legally binding or valid. The legal profession depends on wills having the right wording, with no room for misinterpretation or error. A DIY will could mean you risk leaving your family in limbo, and open up challenges
from other interested parties.
Use a solicitor to write your will
Drawing up a will through your solicitor is the most common way to put one in place. If you own multiple assets or plan for lots of beneficiaries, using a solicitor remains your best option.
- Ensures will is valid
- Trustworthy legal advice and protection
The primary advantage of employing a solicitor is peace of mind. Legal professionals can mitigate possible errors to ensure your will is valid, properly worded, and its intent is clear. It doesn’t matter how big or small your estate is, they have the experience and knowledge to help. The industry is heavily regulated, so if you have a problem or complaint, you’re protected. Solicitors also have the added advantage of being able to securely store your will and, if you choose, act as an executor
when the time comes. Expect strict confidentiality, too.
Using a solicitor to write your will costs more, since you’re paying for their time and expertise. For a simple will, expect to pay about £150; more complex wills may rise to around £400. Find out more about prices with our guide, ‘How much does writing a will cost?
Use a will-writing service
Will-writing services are becoming increasingly popular – it’s the straightforward option for those who want a professionally written will without going through solicitors.
- Convenient and accessible
- Cheaper than solicitors
Most people who choose a will-writing service do so for convenience. There are a number of reasons for this: the sheer volume of companies delivering this service is huge, and many offer to undertake the work remotely online or over the phone. If you’d rather the more traditional method, some businesses will even visit your home to make writing a will even easier. Using these services are typically cheaper than using a solicitor, while still ensuring your will is valid.
- Not suitable for large or complex wills
- May offer less protection
While they’re a good option for small or mid-sized estates, the more complex your affairs, the more reason there is to use a solicitor. Companies offering will-writing services are also regulated differently to solicitors.
At The Law Superstore, all will-writers are members of regulatory body the Institute of Professional Will writers (IPW)
, which sets standards and provides consumer protection.
Other will-writers may not be members of a regulatory organisation, so ask them what protections they offer, making sure you’re properly covered – not all have indemnity insurance, for example. Unlike solicitors, representatives can’t always offer reliable legal advice or store your will, either.
When making your will, there’s no margin for error. A single mistake can end up costing much more in the long-run – prolonging probate
, forcing a will to be openly contested
, or even just placing unwanted stress on your loved ones. Choose wisely and research carefully.