Making a will

Discussion in 'Finance, Property, Law' started by Zarathustra, Sep 25, 2011.

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  1. I will be going on an extra long adventure holiday soon and have decided that it might be wise get a will written "properly" with the help of a solicitor as my circumstances have changed a great deal since I last took a trip with work and I think that a private will would help me get my affairs sorted in the way I want better than the Army will form in the event I roll a six.

    My question is, what should I be looking for when finding a solicitor to help sort out my will, and what sort of fee could I expect to pay?

    *I know the last question will depend on my solicitor etc but I'd like a ball park figure.
  2. the fees will largley depend on how much help is required, there are a lot of options avialable and if your after an easy to complete but simple service thease can often be obtained "free" wiht your bank account (it depends on what account and which bank of course )

    a lot of advertisments for cheap will writing exist on the internet and fees do seem to vary from £50.00 up to £250.00 it might be worth your while spending some time perusing the offerings and purchasing an all inclusive package rhater than going ofr a more expesive tailored solution.

    in my experiance to date solicitors fees change from area to area and how well known they are, of course ou might be better served with a paralegal who specialises in probate as there generally a lot cheaper to employ.
  3. Boldnotold

    Boldnotold LE Book Reviewer

    Speaking as a customer, rather than a lawyer, here are my tips.

    Find a solicitor who specialises in inheritance matters.

    Avoid 'Will Writers', who aren't qualified lawyers and accordingly don't know as much.

    Talk to him/her about a Power of Attorney as well as a will. (Mine made it clear that I was more likely to become ill/comatose than to die, for at least the next forty years, and the offspring might be grateful for a roof over his head whilst I recovered!).

    Think carefully about allowing a lawyer to be your executor. If you do allow it, think about a fixed fee rather than a percentage of your estate. Choose your own executors carefully; they have some serious responsibilities, and an ability to deal assertively with banks, lawyers, and civil serpents will be essential.

    It was a few years ago, but I had a Will and Enduring PoA written for around £150. You have Lasting PoAs now as the law has changed, and I think there's a bigger fee up front but smaller if they have to be activated. No doubt a knowledgeable person will confirm.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Thanks, I thought that might be the case in respect of the costs.

    I've been looking on line and found a few in my area, but I've never had to find a solicitor before so just not sure what I should be asking people when looking around.
  5. Thanks.
  6. DO NOT use a free will writing service from a building society or bank account. Nothing is for free. They get their money, and then some, when the person dies and the will appoints them as executors. They charge way over the odds for this and simply sub-contract the work out to a local solicitor. The wills are often inexpertly written.

    Just find a solicitor who does that sort of stuff.

    PS Reading Boldnotold's comments re PoA, I once had to act as the Receiver, appointed by the Court of Protection, for a relative who spent 15+ years in an asylum, having destroyed his brain with drink. It was mainly a matter of maintaining accounts and selling off the house when he died. If you are incapable of making logical decisions, the CoP will get involved. I read a story somewhere that things seem to have changed since those days; apparently they won't often allow relatives to act as receivers, the estate is liquidated and lawyers are appointed to manage the patient's affairs and hefty fees are charged for this. The fees will often devour the entire estate.

    This sort of thing should put it into context. It's the Daily Waily, but I'm sure Google will turn up more information;
    Secret court seizes £3.2bn from elderly and mentally impaired | Mail Online

    PoA is something I should look into as well.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Boldnotold

    Boldnotold LE Book Reviewer

    You put it so much more clearly than I did! Although some solicitors can also be greedy when appointed as executors, hence my comment about flat fee vs percentage of estate. There's a story in this months' 'Oldie' (now I'm going to get some flak) about a solicitor who dragged out probate for 26 months, and charged £20,000. When the beneficiary finally got the file, it had only 34 letters in it. That's quite a sum per letter!
  8. Look on here to find a solicitor in your area who specialises in this line of work. As suggested above use a solicitor and not a will writing service. I had mine done 2 or 3 years ago by a local solicitor and paid £150.

    The Law Society - Find a solicitor
  9. i said they were options not good /best options.

    i put the free in inverted commas to show it wasnt (maybe to subtle a move) and i stated it depended on the level of service required.

    when i did my will i used a £45.00 cd i bought from whsmiths, drafted the details into the template taking regard of the notes provided, got the postman and the milkman to winess it and sent copies to the pay office (in unit) and gave one sealed copy to the notifying officers folder (so he could deliver it with the good news)

    as i understand the laws on probate have changed a lot since then i didnt know what would be best for the op (i gather from his statement he has slightly more than basic needs) but as for the rest of it having never had to consider that side i couldnt give any advice.

    paralegals are generally people who posses legal qualifications but havent passed the bar, or people who dont have enough quals to take the bar, often there specialised in a particular area of law and advice the wig they work for on the finer points, and gernally do nay donkey work required prior to submissions being signed or the boss appearing in court.

    sorry if my initial post gave out any missleading ideas .
  10. It's not gone up much then, had mine done 2 years ago for just under £200.00
  11. Dying is an expensive business. Make sure you have the cash funds to deal with it and to pay for the picking over your bones when you're gone! Check out their fees if you have them as executors - THEY ARE ******* EXPENSIVE - even if everything is 'in order' from your end!
  12. stupid question but cant you appoint a partner or familly member as executor of a will even if they are a beneficiary or has that all changed now ?
  13. Yes, I know. A 'free' will may be attractive to someone who has little money that isn't tied up in their property and the disadvantages of the 'free' will aren't immediately apparent to someone who has no experience of wills.

    My comments come with free bile, vehemence and outrage from one who was nearly entangled in the fall-out from a late relative's 'free' will. The solicitor involved in unentangling the mess stated, at the outset, that there would be a 'stack of money' to be paid to the will-writing service & self-appointed executors. One clause in the will was perused at great length before we agreed that they had managed to contradict themselves in the same sentence and the entire paragraph was meaningless. The solicitor came close to laughing aloud, but I don't think he did; I didn't notice a charge for LOL on his bill.

    You can, but then I'm not a lawyer.
  14. i bet the sneakey bugger hid it under the processing time title, you just know if he billed for more than the time you were in the office it was so ha had a good 5 mins to piss his pants laughing at the crappy paperwork

    i take your point, i should of pointed out the pitfalls /slapwrist\ but at least were fortunate that many more observant/knowledgable people can jump in and point out the bits that are missing :)

    as a side note someone mentioned ot me earlier that you should avoid like the plague anyone allowed ot advertise as mod aproved cos they are paying ot be allowed ot make the advert and will end up costing a fortune.
  15. Boldnotold

    Boldnotold LE Book Reviewer

    I think you're still misleading. Solicitors do not have to take Bar Exams, Barristers do. They're the ones who mostly wear wigs, and would only get involved in inheritance matters if the will were contested. A solicitor will write the will. He or she may use their articled clerk or assistant solicitor to do the legwork, but the solicitor is the one who carries the can and sends the bill.