What is the Difference Between a Will Writer and a Solicitor?

You can use either a will writer or a solicitor to write your will, but what is the difference between the two?

Legally, in the UK anyone can write a will, meaning you can write your own if you want to. However, wills need to be written in a certain way to be legally binding, so unless you have this expertise, it’s best to use a professional will writer or solicitor.

But what is the difference between these two professionals, and which one is right for you?

What is a will writer?

A will writer is someone who has training in will writing, whose job it is to help people write their wills. They have a great understanding of the process of will writing, ensuring it is presented appropriately and is legally binding. You do not need to be a lawyer to become a will writer, their expertise is specifically in making a will

What is a solicitor?

A solicitor is a legal expert who has qualified and is subject to scrutiny by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Legal Ombudsman. They may have more general legal knowledge, but also offer will writing as a service.

Solicitors may have expertise in other fields, such as inheritance tax, as they have studied law to a significant degree to obtain this qualification.  

Which one do I need?

For almost everyone, either a solicitor or a will writer would do a great job on their will. Whether you're drafting a will with a spouse, or you want to update or overwrite a pre-existing will. Perhaps you have married, or remarried, or bought property. The main differences come down to complexity, and price.

When to use a will writer to write your will

If your estate is not complex, and most of your beneficiaries are your spouse or children, then a will writer is probably the best option. They are experts in their field, many do house calls, you can ask lots of questions and they're usually cheaper than a solicitor. Many of them can work independently, so can offer a more affordable service, rather than a solicitor as part of a law firm.

You have nothing to worry about using a will writer, they're experts! Also, every will writer on our panel is regulated by the Institute of Professional Will Writers or the Society of Will Writers. So you can feel confident you've picked someone who knows what they're doing.

When to use a solicitor to write your will

It may be that you have a more complex estate, and need a solicitor who can make recommendations on inheritance tax law, or other elements related to your estate.

You will need a solicitor to write your will if:

  • you own property abroad
  • you own a business as part of your estate
  • you live abroad the majority of the time
  • you have children from a previous marriage, or an ex-partner who may contest the will

Using a solicitor may mean your will costs a little more, but it's worth it to secure your estate and an inheritance for your beneficiaries. Wills are legal documents that need to stand when the time comes - they're about ensuring your wishes are carried out, so it's important to invest in it. Also, if you need to make changes in the future you can add a codicil rather than getting a brand new will written. All of our solicitors are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Legal Ombudsman (check about ombudsman).

What is a Licensed Probate Practitioner?

Licensed Probate Practitioners are specialists, just like will writers. But they focus on the process of probate. They are experts in legal documentation who are usually hired to administer the estate of a deceased person. They can, however, also be used to witness documents such as affidavits and signing passports.

A Licensed Probate Practitioner is a good alternative to a solicitor when dealing with a grant of probate, especially if you aren't expecting it to be a complex process. Just like the will writers, they're an expert alternative to solicitors.


Whichever expert you choose for your will writing, or your probate process, it's important to consider what matters most to you and compare carefully. Speak to different legal professionals, and do your research. At the end of drafting your will, you'll feel relieved and confident that your future is in good hands.