Should I use a solicitor to write my will?

Posted on August 25, 2021
Person writing on paper with fountain pen

Your will is possibly the most important document you’ll ever create. It details all of your wishes for when you pass away, from where your money goes, to who gets your belongings, who’s responsible for your pets and dependents, and any other instructions you wish to leave behind.

Writing your will can be incredibly overwhelming, or even traumatic, due to its sensitive nature and the need to consider every possibility. Will must also be reviewed every few years to ensure they meet the needs.  Here we look at why using a solicitor for guidance on writing your will is a safe and efficient option.

What are my options for writing my will?

There are three main ways to create your will. You can buy a pack online or from the post office and create your will yourself, consult a Will Writing service, or hire a solicitor to write your will.

Often, people will choose one of the former options because they think it will be more cost effective. But the cost of getting your will wrong can be more than just financial. There are many mistakes that may go unnoticed, causing enormous issues when the time comes if you don’t get the document right.

Using the right wording in your will

One of the easiest – and most crucial – mistakes to make when creating a will is using words or phrases that don’t have the meaning you intended when it comes to enacting them in law. The last thing you want to do is create confusion and arguments among your beneficiaries while they’re still emotional from losing you.

A home-made will carries the risk that its writer does not know the specific legal terminology for their wishes.

After your death, your executors will need to carry out the instructions in your will – and therefore it’s vital that it is clear and free of ambiguity. Minor differences in terminology can sometimes have a specific legal meaning, and can produce different results. This opens the will up to interpretation and challenges which you will not be able to clear up.

Will witnesses

Those without specific experience or legal knowledge may not know the specific rules about who can and cannot be a witness to a will. There are also strict regulations around how and when it is witnessed and signed – for example, this must be done in the same room at the same time. Witnesses also cannot be beneficiaries. With this important part of making your will legal, it’s something that you can’t afford to get wrong.

Safe storage of your will

Storage of your will can also throw up a number of problems. While you may be able to store your will yourself, you run the risk of it becoming mislaid, damaged or marked. Any damage to the document may be viewed as tampering and invalidate the will.

Will writing companies often charge a low amount for their services, only to then add a large annual storage fee in order to keep your will safe, whereas a solicitor will include permanent storage of the will in the cost of their services.

Using a solicitor to write your will

Getting your will right is a difficult task, and it is easy to make a mistake. Unfortunately, there are no supervisions for will writers who are often unregulated – meaning anyone can set up shop as a will writer and charge a small premium, regardless of a lack of legal qualifications. Will writers are also not required to hold any kind of insurance.

Using a solicitor to write your will means having the confidence that not only is it written by an organisation that is qualified and supervised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, and an organisation with complementary legal knowledge such as property and tax law, but also by one that has liability insurance.

On the rare occasion a solicitor makes a mistake in your will, this will be covered by professional indemnity insurance. So, there will always be funds available to compensate you, or your estate, for any losses suffered from that mistake.

Contact the team at Jefferies

When it comes to getting your will right, using a solicitor really is the only way to be confident that your wishes will be carried out when you pass. To discuss how we can help you get your will right, get in touch today. Call us on 01702 332 322 or email the team directly.

Find out more about our services, prices and meet our Wills and Probate team here. 

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only.  They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice.  The law may have changed since this article was published.  Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances. 

Speak to an expert today

Share article