Did you know that anyone can write a will?
- AuthorAlistair Thomson
Although there may be various reasons that trigger people to make a will, ultimately it is about ensuring your estate passes to those who you wish to benefit. It is not only important to consider those you wish to benefit but also who you wish to entrust with such a task.
Will writing is not a regulated activity and although this may seem shocking, anyone can draft a will, some people choose to write their own and I have to confess some of them are written very well! On the other hand I have seen many poorly drafted wills that do not sufficiently deal with the client’s assets. Thankfully most people approach a firm to draft what they consider to be a professional will on their behalf… Sadly those who are considered as professionals can quite often be the opposite. Professionals will not cold call you or knock on your door without a pre booked appointment.
At a time of grief or when a sales person seems believable, people often let these so called professionals in to their homes. Over the past few years (and more so the last few months) I have seen an upturn in the number of clients who have been sold services at a meeting regarding wills that are simply not required. The bill for these services often runs into several thousands of pounds and more often than not these ‘professional advisers’ do not leave your home until they have received payment in full.
Generally these companies are known within the profession as “Will Writing Companies” and the majority are unregulated. Many offer to store your will for a lifetime storage fee, however a lot of these Companies are wound up on a regular basis and replaced with a new Company making it hard to know if your will is safe and whether it is easy to obtain. Solicitors firms will also store your will for you in a safe and easily accessible environment.
I know what you are thinking… making your will with a solicitor will be extremely expensive! However this is not the case, will drafting is often undertaken on a fixed fee basis and you will always be made aware of the full costs prior to starting to draft your will.
I am continually surprised by the number of people who will answer the phone to a stranger and start discussing their personal business and yet many people wouldn’t answer the door to someone they don’t recognise!
At times of grief, uncertainty or when you simply feel ready to make a will we can all be vulnerable, you may even know someone who you are concerned about. I encourage anyone thinking about using a firm to draft a will to check they are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority which can be easily done by ringing the Law Society on 020 7320 5650 between 9.00am and 5.30pm Monday to Friday (your calls are charged at local rates). Alternatively you can use the Law Society website solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk to find a regulated company by searching your home postcode.
Unregulated companies prey on the vulnerable on a daily basis, please don’t let it be you or your loved ones!
If you are thinking of making a will why not ask a friend or family member for a recommendation.
You can find out more information about wills by clicking here.