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We all know that it is essential for everyone to have a Will to ensure that your assets go to those you choose. After all, nobody wants the state deciding who should get what when you die. But after youíve made the decision to make a Will, what is the best way of going about it?
A number of options exist including going to a Solicitor, making a home made Will or using a Will Writer.
The most important factor to consider when choosing a method of Will writing is whether it will be effective once you die. In many cases Wills which are incorrectly written or have other problems can be disregarded and the personís estate effectively treated as if they had left no Will at all. The result of this is that their estate is distributed according to the laws of intestacy, set out by the state, and therefore may not go to those they would have liked.
In the case of Will Writers, the Law Society has called for urgent regulation of the sector to ensure the quality and expertise of those involved. The current situation is that the industry is not regulated and therefore anyone can set up as a Will Writer, regardless of their level of training or knowledge. Someone wanting to use a Will Writer has no way of knowing how well trained that person is and is therefore taking a gamble on how effective their Will is going to be.
The attraction is that Will Writers often advertise very low rates up front, however, most will charge additional fees more complex Wills as well as for related services such as secure storage of the original Will, something that a Solicitor will provide free of charge.
Home made Wills are attractive for the same reason. The idea that you can pay £9.99 for a Will writing pack from a stationers appeals to many people. The reality though is that a high proportion of home made Wills are invalid and are disregarded once the person dies. This can lead to family disputes and assets being passed to people other that the ones the deceased intended. Many of these cases require a Solicitor to become involved to sort the mess out, and the fees for this will usually be much higher than they would have been for a Solicitor to write an effective Will in the first place.
The slightest error in how a Will is written or executed can lead to it being invalid.
Common mistakes on home made Wills include:
- Leaving dependents out of a Will, opening it up to legal challenge later on
- Having beneficiaries witness a Will
- Amending a Will incorrectly after it is written
- Marking a Will which can be seen as tampering
- Not having a Will witnessed correctly or using inappropriate witnesses
The safest, and often most cost effective, way of having a Will written is to use a Solicitor. Solicitors undergo years of training on an ongoing basis and are strictly regulated by the Law Society to ensure high standards. They also have a broad scope of knowledge in related areas such as property and taxation which is often relevant to a personís estate.
A professionally written Will from Norrie Waite and Slater solicitors costs (prices removed as out of date - please call for latest price) for a couple. This includes personalised advice from a lawyer who will write the Will, get it witnessed and offer free secure storage of the original document (providing you with copies) if required.
Follow this link for more information on Making a Will.
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