DIY Will Kits - which is best?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Over 50s Money Saving
23 replies 61.9K views
gck303gck303 Forumite
40 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Over 50s Money Saving
I would like to make a will. I do not have one at the moment.

However, my situation is quite simple: I wish to leave everything to my unmarried partner.We have no dependents. If we both die together, then everything can be left according to our default next of kin.

Can anyone recommend a suitable Will Kit, or service to get this in writing? Obviously, the cheaper the better.

Happy Christmas!!!!:rudolf:

George
«13

Replies

  • This is one instance where cheaper is not better. Pay a solicitor. A diy will is worthless and probably not recognised by the law. For about £200 you can decide what happens to your estate. If you don't do it properly then the state decides what happens.
  • JoolzSJoolzS Forumite
    824 Posts
    I'm in complete agreement with the poster above me. I used to work as a temp legal secretary and I lost count of the number of DIY wills that simply didn't conform to the current requirements and so the estate of that person came under the dictates of the current government.

    Get a solicitor to do your wills. They sound simple so they should probably only cost about £200.

    Julie
  • what he said , if its contested then chances are an outcome would be decided by the courts not your wishes , its a nasty thought in that your money left to loved ones could go into the pockets of solicitors instead , get a proper one fella
  • gck303 wrote: »
    Can anyone recommend a suitable Will Kit, or service to get this in writing? Obviously, the cheaper the better.
    This post from the Making a Will thread might be useful for you when considering your options:
    localhero wrote: »
    DIY

    Pros: Cheap or free.

    Cons - very easy to make a mistake even with a very basic Will. Remember one careless or vague word can cause enormous problems later. A common problem is with the signing/witnessing procedure - if this is not carried out according to strict formalities your Will will be invalid. Not recommended - ever.

    Online

    Pros - cheap.

    Cons - no face to face advice and the Will unlikely to be tailored to your individual circumstances. Possible problems with signing. No comeback/redress if there's a problem later on.

    Bank

    Pros - often free with a 'premier' type account.

    Cons - usually no face to face consultation, just a highly impersonal form to fill in and return. They will often appoint themselves as your executors which will cost your estate 4%+ when you die. (Far more expensive than solicitors.)

    Union

    Pros - often free

    Cons - you will get the absolutely most basic will, otherwise expect to pay extra.

    Charity

    Pros - promotions run offering discounted fees/sometimes free

    Cons - as above with unions.

    Unqualified Willwriter

    Pros - generally much cheaper than a solicitor, face to face consultation, will usually visit people at home or work so convenient for busy/infirm/elderly people.

    Cons - the law allows anybody to call themselves a Willwriter. The majority have had no training, are uninsured and unregulated. See the attached link for an example of a disreputable operator, and there are countless more of these types of operators out there: http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.html?t=1009493&highlight=wills

    A high risk option, so unless they are a member of the IPW (see below) do not entertain.

    Institute of Professional Willwriters Willwriter

    Pros - all members specialise in Wills, must pass an entrance exam to join, must undertake regular enhanced criminal records checks, must undertake continuing professional development (ie ongoing training). All have professional indemnity insurance up to £2m (the same as solicitors), all must operate to a strict code of conduct that has has stage 1 approval from the Office of Fair Trading (consumer protection). All must provide details of all their fees in advance. Most will visit you at home or work. Fees will generally be much cheaper than a solicitor. Nationwide membership.

    Cons - Will cost a little bit more than the options above - but you will at least obtain peace of mind.

    Solicitor

    Pros - they will be insured. Some solicitors are very good.

    Cons - generally offer a vague fee structure and usually expensive. Anything other than a basic Will, will usually result in an hourly rate rather than a fixed fee, you will usually have to attend them, no guarantee that they will have the expertise that you think, often offered as a 'loss leader' to obtain the far more valuable probate work later. No compulsion to undertake any exams/training in willwriting. Overall, a bit of a lottery.

    STEP qualified firm

    Pros - members have undertaken exams and training, will be insured, can provide tax savings for high net worth individuals.

    Cons - more expensive than your usual high street solicitor, though worth paying if wealthy.


    I declare myself a member of the Institute of Professional Willwriters and the views expressed are my own. Visit www.ipw.org.uk to find a member in your area.
    Since that post was made, a couple more depressing threads have emerged:

    Cheap Wills but with a sting

    Would you want this solicitor to write your Will?

    Good luck!
  • moonrakerzmoonrakerz Forumite
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    gck303 wrote: »
    I would like to make a will. I do not have one at the moment.

    However, my situation is quite simple: I wish to leave everything to my unmarried partner.We have no dependents. If we both die together, then everything can be left according to our default next of kin.

    I do not claim to be a "legal eagle", but your post suggest already a possible major fault in any DIY Will you may make. Which I daresay any number of Lawyers would be only too happy to resolve after your deaths - for a large fee !

    What exactly do you mean by "default next of kin" ? This will have to be specified in the will - no one individual is your next of kin by default.

    A solicitor will charge you a couple of hundred quid at the most to do a "proper" Will, then you will know your estate will end up where YOU want it to go !
  • moonrakerz wrote: »

    A solicitor will charge you a couple of hundred quid at the most to do a "proper" Will, then you will know your estate will end up where YOU want it to go !

    I have to disagree with you there moonrakerz.
    Be under no illusion that solicitors offer that guarantee.As I mentioned in that 'Cheap Wills with a sting' thread, it is merely the probability of that happening that is increased.

    I fully agree with this statement I read the other day:
    we welcome The Law Society’s support in backing our stance, but must temper this with words of caution about the service provided by some solicitors. If The Law Society truly wishes to support our views on regulation, it should insist that all solicitors be trained in will writing, pass examinations in this area of law and then commit to on-going training and development in this area.
    http://www.ipw.org.uk/professional/documents/LawSocietyresponse.pdf
  • IronyIrony Forumite
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    " If we die together":eek: I hope your not thinking...
    anyhow,if you die together the younger of the pair is deemed to have died last &their next kin of will get all.
  • ukmaggie45ukmaggie45 Forumite
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    I am the person who began the thread quoted. My advice is never name a solicitor as Executer or Joint Executor! Unless your Estate is horrendously complicated. (from what I can gather, most aren't)

    To save you reading around 200 posts, we now have another solicitor (a STEP practitioner) dealing with the Estates and the original solicitor named as Executor. We no longer feel able to even talk to him on telephone. While our second solicitor is "expensive", in fact not very much more expensive than the co-executor solicitor's charges. (which were not discussed with my parents ever, and not told to us)

    I feel sure that my parents believed that it would be easier for us to have a professional involved. It has not proved that way for us.

    Be careful who you get to write your Will!

    Good Luck from me too!

    Best wishes.
  • moonrakerzmoonrakerz Forumite
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    I have to disagree with you there moonrakerz.
    Be under no illusion that solicitors offer that guarantee

    I must agree - to a point - you will get duff solicitors just as you will get duff doctors, plumbers, etc. A DIY Will is an almost guaranteed road to trouble - the only thing is - you won't be around to know about it !
  • moonrakerz wrote: »
    you will get duff solicitors just as you will get duff doctors, plumbers, etc.

    Basing my views on probability again, I do feel it has to be deeper than that.
    Too many distinct problems have made me ponder over the root cause.

    The ipw’s statement (and discussion within ukmaggie's thread) on the qualification/ongoing training aspect makes sense to me.
    moonrakerz wrote: »
    the only thing is - you won't be around to know about it
    Yes that is a blessing.
    I know of one couple’s entire estate ending up with a family they despised. Ironically I think the intestacy rules could well have been closer to the mark of what they wished to happen in the long term.
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