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Wednesday, 11 February 2015 00:00

Will Writer or Solicitor?

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There is has been much debate about whether to use a Will Writer or a solicitor to draft your Will. I am going to try to offer an unbiased look at both.

Unless your circumstances are completely straightforward, there is a lot to consider when making a Will.

It’s important to use an experienced, thorough, professional advisor who will discuss your situation, go through all the relevant issues and cover areas you probably will not have considered. I think it is essential that they can advise you correctly on taxation and trusts and business issues.

If you run your own business or are a partner or a director, you need to ensure your Will takes into account your business interests, so you need to choose an advisor who has the expertise and experience to deal with this.

Many people choose a Solicitor to draw up their Will because of their legal training and they are regulated by the Law Society.

However, not all Solicitors are specialists in Will Writing, Inheritance Tax and Trusts. This is mainly due to the fact that very few solicitors choose to do any initial training on Wills when they go through university as it is an unpopular and unprofitable area of law. As a result, the average solicitor probably has less training than the average Will Writer.

If you choose a Solicitor or bank to write your Will, be careful if they insist on you making them an executor as this can prove very costly.

Unlike Solicitors, Will Writers are not currently regulated. But this doesn’t make them all cowboys. A professional Will Writer drafts Wills for his clients as a main business. So long as they have professional training and indemnity insurance there should be little concern about using them.

The Will writing bodies - the Will Writers Association and the Society of Will Writers - are not regulators and have no powers in law. They are marketing bodies whose purpose is to promote the need for Wills to the general public and assist their members with training. Membership does not guarantee you will receive the best advice.

Choosing the right Will Writer is no different to choosing the right Solicitor. You want to find someone you can trust so ask for recommendations and testimonials from their clients.
Ask them if Will writing is their speciality and what experience they have. Ask them what professional training they have had and if they have professional indemnity insurance.  Ask them about their expertise in tax and trusts. Ask how they keep on top of changes in the law and taxation, and whether they have had a claim of negligence against them (if so, find out how many).

A good Will Writer will happily answer your questions and the answers should be easily verifiable.

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