Free and Cheap Wills discussion area



  • Dick_here
    Dick_here Posts: 1,605 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    So having read the MSE guide, am I right in thinking that a person CAN write their own will (obviously a simple one), have it witnessed and just store it away and that's it, i.e. there is no need for any legal/official/formal process to be undertaken - excuse the pun - at that point ?
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  • Mary_Hartnell
    Mary_Hartnell Posts: 874 Forumite
    edited 21 July 2010 at 2:45PM
    Oh yes you can! I believe you can even make a verbal will if under fire in a war.
    Rules in Scotland do vary - want to hand write it?

    "Which?" used to include the rules and sample typical examples in its book on "Wills & Probate" (probably still available in your library)
    I used it to help my father write his will.

    BUT the increases in house prices and extra legislation about "legal unions" and transferable InHeritance Tax nil rate bands means that the tax man is getting more and more involved. Probate has changed from a legal matter to 90% a taxation exercise.
    So I think that might have been the reason for "Which?" to "chicken out" and offer a web/telephone/postal service for about 80 GBP ( [FONT=&quot]©[/FONT] 2009).

    How complex are your affairs?
  • woodknowe
    woodknowe Posts: 20 Forumite
    As a couple living together we thought it wise to follow advice and make wills through the Legal Network Service (following a link from the MSE email). Today we have received our draft free wills (which are incorrect - according to our wills we both have the same brother!) - along with details of their fees and outlays of £532.50 (!!!!!!!) - their fees of £300 plus VAT and registration fees of £180. At the meeting we were asked if we wanted a Power of Attorney, and after we had agreed it might be a good idea, were informed that it would cost £300 plus VAT. There was no mention of the £180 registration fee, which puts it well above anything we can afford at this time. We understood that we had time to think about this and that we hadn't actually agreed to it. Can we cancel the Power of Attorney part, as we simply cannot afford this at this time, or are we stuck with it? Any advice would be gratefully received. :eek:
  • Baggysdad
    Baggysdad Posts: 130 Forumite
    Your contract should give you 7 days to cancel the agreement. If you didn't get a contract or the contract doesn't advise you of the 7 day cancellation period, then the contract is unenforceable and you can cancel it whenever you want to.

    Are you in Scotland by any chance? Because the fee to register a Power of Attorney in England is £120 per document - in which case their £180 fee is remarkably good value. Also, if you are in England, it is not necessary to register the Power of Attorney straight away.
  • Mary_Hartnell
    Mary_Hartnell Posts: 874 Forumite
    edited 29 July 2010 at 11:21PM

    So have we all done it yet - made a Lasting Power of Attorney:

    Fill in a large form having sorted out who will be the attorney, who will certify you as compos mentis - who will be family representative - who will certify that you legally know what you are doing. List all the people who need to know you will be losing your marbles - then attach a cheque for 120 quid - send it of and wait & wait.
    Ah that is the money sorted.

    Now do it all over again then attach a cheque for 120 quid - send it of and wait & wait.
    Ah that is the welfare person decided.

    Now go Doolally and repeat the process all over again to get the powers authorised.

    Why ?

    Because a small minority of relatives were mistreating their elderly relatives via the Power/Enduring power of attorney system, which could be set up in minutes and used while waiting for the court to register it.
  • MotownFox
    MotownFox Posts: 58 Forumite
    If you don't need to use the LPA soon then you don't have to pay a registration fee as you can keep it at home or somewhere safe until such time as it is needed or your mind goes in which case someone like your Attourney will have to register it themselves and pay the £120 or whatever it may be at that time. That £120 is the price per document as well. It is unlikely you will both go gaga at the same time so this PGO fee will usually be taken on each registration.

    How much were the wills by the way and did they provide any special clauses?
  • Details of the November 2010 Will Aid Scheme are available to view at
  • MSE, you have let yourself (and all of your readers) down very badly this time IMHO.

    You say "our primary focus is on cost not feedback or expertise" - and so it has unfortunately been with many people over the years, hence the 17,000 wills chucked out of court each year for NOT being properly written. Had 'expertise' in this field been sought - as it should have been and irrespective of cost (which is always a miniscule amount compared to the cost of sorting out and repairing the problems when they occur) - then many more families would have had their estates properly managed and distributed, rather than thinking that they have had one over on the professionals who have the cheek to charge!

    MSE, yet another ill thought and scaremongering spouting from you which your readers should be wary of.
  • I had a Will completed by a solicitor many years ago and my circumstances have not really changed, except my children are now all over 18. How can I amend the name of the Executors easily? Can I make the executors my children? I trust them more than anyone else!!!
  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 46,018 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    Don't amend the original, but the best way would be to write the changes on a copy, or note them on a separate piece of paper, and get a solicitor to write a new will. There are several reasons why I'd recommend this (and I have no legal training whatsoever, so feel free to disagree!)

    One is that even though your circumstances haven't changed, the law and / or IHT limits have changed, so what was 'best' then may not be any longer, and a solicitor can advise you on this.

    Another is that a solicitor should also go through any 'what if' questions with you, making the will reasonably future proof - what if one of your children dies before you, with or without children of their own, for example.

    But the main one is that the potential for mucking up a codicil (a change or addition to a will) is quite large, and the cost of drawing up a codicil properly compared with the cost of re-writing the will probably isn't that great.

    You CAN do a DIY codicil, just as you CAN do a DIY will, and you won't be there to see whether you got it right or wrong, but your children will bless you for getting it right!
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