A guide to the costs associated with writing a Will in the UK
A Last Will and Testament is one of the most important legal documents you should put in place, but how much does it actually cost? The short answer is it varies on your specific needs, but we’ve outlined all you need to know to help you make the best decision for you.
How much does it cost to write a Will?
The cost of making a Will with a solicitor is between £150 – £750. DIY Wills can cost as little as £20 but can be a risky option and end up costing far more if a mistake is made. For a professional service at a budget-friendly option, our legal experts can write a single or joint Will from just £99.
Why do I need a Will?
It’s not just the wealthy or people with complicated assets who need a Will. Here are a few reasons why this legal document is so important.
- You can decide who gets what and how much.
- You can prevent people you don’t want to have your assets benefiting (like an estranged relative).
- Without a Will, the courts will decide who should care for your children.
- Getting access to your assets will be faster and easier for your beneficiaries.
- You can save money on taxes through shrewd estate planning. For example, you can help offset estate tax with gifts and charitable donations.
Do you need a solicitor to make a will?
If you want complete peace of mind with your Will, we suggest very strongly that you use a legal professional or Will writing specialists.
For a start, you can be more confident that your will is free from mistakes and correctly written. This can save misunderstandings, disputes and legal costs.
The law surrounding inheritances including Inheritance Tax and trusts is very complicated, so an expert can do the complicated work for you.
Your legal advisor will:
- Give you confidential advice in your best interests
- Explain your options
- Write and check your will according to your instructions.
- Give you a clear indication of costs from the start
You can choose to appoint the solicitor or legal specialist who draws up your Will as your executor, so they will handle the arrangements for your estate when you die. There can sometimes be a cost for this, although at ELM we provide this service free of charge.
When it is advisable to use a legal professional
There are some instances when we would advise using a legal professional to write your Will. This is where you:
- Share a property with someone who is not your husband, wife or civil partner
- Wish to make provision for a dependent who is unable to care for themselves
- Have several family members who may make a claim on the Will, for example, a second wife or children from a first marriage
- Have a permanent home not in the United Kingdom
- Are resident in the UK but there is overseas property involved
- Run a business and it will form part of your estate
- Have to pay Inheritance Tax – usually on estates valued at over £325,000 for an individual or up to £650,000 for a married couple.
Why use ELM to write your Will
We are a specialist Wills, Probate & Trusts company and have already helped over 30,000 clients across England and Wales with their Wills. Everyone’s circumstances are different, so we offer free no-obligation enquiries to ensure you get a personalised service that meets your specific needs.
Can I write my own will legally?
Although you might be tempted by the low cost of DIY Wills, this can be a risky approach.
Your Will could be invalid if it contains errors or if the strict witnessing rules are not followed correctly. Plus, your legacy could lessen in value with legal bills and unnecessary tax, affecting your family both emotionally and financially.
Figures suggest that 38,000 families a year have a prolonged probate ordeal due to poorly drafted or ineffective DIY Wills. An incorrect Will can result in up to 10% of the value of your estate being absorbed in additional fees. The average UK estate is £160,000, so this could result in up to £16,000 in probate fees.
Common mistakes when making a Will
- Not knowing the formal requirements to make a Will legally valid.
- Failing to account for all the money and property available.
- Not providing for the possibility that a beneficiary dies before the person making the Will.
- Not understanding the effect of a marriage, civil partnership, divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership on a Will.
- Being unaware of the rules that enable dependents to claim from the estate if they believe they are not adequately provided for.
Are there any other documents I need to make?
Ideally, you should make a Lasting Power of Attorney at the same time that you make your Will. This is a legal document naming the nominated person (the Attorney) you want to make decisions on your behalf, perhaps if you are hospitalised or have a long term diagnosis.
Keeping your Will up to date
It is important to keep any legal documents up to date. Do not make changes to your Will itself after it has been signed and witnessed, as it might become invalid. The only way to change your Will is to either make a new one or add a codicil that amends your Will instead of replacing it.
To find out how much it will cost to make your Will, call us now on 0117 952 0698 or make a free enquiry and our team will be in touch.