If you have particular ideas about who you would like to benefit from your estate when you die, then you need to make a will. Conversely, if there are certain individuals who you would prefer not to benefit from your estate, then again, the only way to safeguard your wishes is to make a will. The question is though, do you use a solicitor or will writing service? Read on as we compare the two so that you can be clear on the differences.
What is the difference between a will writer and a solicitor?
There are various differences to bear in mind when considering whether to use a will writer or solicitor. Let’s explore them.
Solicitors are regulated, will writers are not
Will writers do not operate in a regulated environment, whereas solicitors are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). This means that you have the protection of a governing body that ensures its members follow its strict Code of Conduct and standards and regulations.
If an issue were to arise regarding the validity of your will; if it was successfully contested or failed to achieve the goals you were informed it would, then you would have recourse through the regulator. This would include the ability to apply to its compensation fund if you lost money as a result of a solicitor’s dishonesty.
If you choose to use a will writer rather than a solicitor, it is vital that you check that they belong to The Society of Will Writers or the Institute of Professional Will Writers, and that they hold a minimum of £2 million professional indemnity insurance. This way, if things go wrong, you will have a better chance of being able to claim compensation. Solicitors are required by law to have adequate professional indemnity insurance.
Which is cheaper, will writer or solicitor?
Will writers generally charge less than solicitors to make a will. But beware, as will writers are rarely fully legally qualified. If they are members of a recognised trade body, then you will at least be reassured that they have been trained in wills and estate planning. However, this will not always be the case.
Solicitors go through many years of studying and training, and are legally qualified. This is what you are paying for. They will have a broad scope of knowledge, not just around wills, but in terms of estate planning, Inheritance Tax mitigation, Lasting Powers of Attorney and setting up trusts. As such, they take time to understand your individual circumstances and wishes, so they are able to guide you on a wider basis, meaning you are more likely to achieve the goals that are important to you.
What’s more, solicitors are required to undertake regular training by way of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to ensure they are up to date with current regulation. There is no such requirement for will writers.
How will you store your will?
It is essential that once you have made your will, it is stored somewhere safe and secure, and that your family or executors are aware of where they can find it. Many solicitors will safely store your will free of charge or for a small fee. If anything were to happen to the solicitor, all the wills and other documents under their safekeeping would pass to the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Whilst some will writers do offer storage solutions, they will not have the backing of the SRA should a will be lost, damaged or they cease trading.
Ready to make a will with a qualified solicitor? Talk to Partridge Muir & Warren.
If you would prefer the peace of mind that comes with making a will with a solicitor rather than a will writer, PMW looks forward to being of assistance.
As members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), a global professional body comprising solicitors, financial advisers, accountants and other experts dedicated to helping families plan for their futures, you will enjoy complete reassurance of the highest standards and competence levels.
We offer a personalised, trusted will writing service across Surrey. If you are ready to make a will, our expert team is ready to guide you through the process, step by step.
To learn more about how we can help, you are welcome to get in touch.