Making a will

Z

Zarathustra

Guest
#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.
 

Boldnotold

LE
Book Reviewer
#3
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.
 
Z

Zarathustra

Guest
#4
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.
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.
 
Z

Zarathustra

Guest
#5
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.
Thanks.
 
#6
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 ).
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.
 

Boldnotold

LE
Book Reviewer
#7
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.
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!
 
#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 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.
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
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 .
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.

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 ?
You can, but then I'm not a lawyer.
 
#14
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.
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.
 

Boldnotold

LE
Book Reviewer
#15
i 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 .
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.
 
#16
Had mine done for free; a number of Solicitors, if you are deploying somewhere hot and sandy (or just Shit), will do it for free and ask you to make a donation to charity - I gave £50.

Not sure if its been mentioned, but I presume you are in England and not Scotland (different set of rules). Not sure about NI.
 
#17
Had mine done for free; a number of Solicitors, if you are deploying somewhere hot and sandy (or just Shit), will do it for free and ask you to make a donation to charity - I gave £50.
"Will Aid", participating solicitors write your will and take no fee, you make a donation to a charity called Will Aid instead. The scheme lasts for the whole of November so mark it in your diary.
This is from their email:
"Here's how Will Aid works:
Solicitors across the UK donate their time to support the Will Aid charities.
Instead of paying a fee for writing a basic Will, you are invited to make a donation to the Will Aid charities.
Suggested minimum donations are £40 for a codicil, £85 for a single Will or £125 for a pair of mirror Wills.
In other words, Will Aid makes your Will more affordable while helping to raise vital funds for charity.
Once you've taken care of your loved ones, it also gives you a wonderful opportunity to think about leaving a gift to charity in your Will. Any gift you leave to our Will Aid charities, large or small, can make a lasting impact on the lives of vulnerable people in the UK and around the world."

Will Aid
 

Boldnotold

LE
Book Reviewer
#18
Sounds like a good plan, but how do those solicitors get their money? Is it mandatory that they are executors and charge for that service? Worth checking!
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#19
1. You can make over a life insurance policy to another individual so that it does not form part of your estate. This enables the individual to claim the money without waiting for probate, so that they are in funds to pay for your funeral etc. Of course they may say Yippee and b off to Benidorm.

2. To avoid your will being locked in to solicitors or a bank you can appoint private individuals as executors and, in the will, give them broad power to employ solicitors or accountants or other professionals if they so choose but to charge that to the estate (thereby minimising IHT). In this way they can call in only the help they feel is absolutely necessary. It is a great help to whoever has to pick up the pieces if they are an executor and thus in the driving seat. NB an executor can be a beneficiary but the WITNESSES must NOT be.

3. There is no such thing as a friendly chat with a solicitor. Outside whatever freebie they offer, they charge by the minute or (exorbitantly) by the letter, on stiff expensive paper using First Class post after taking weeks to get the job done. Let me know if you ever meet a malnourished one. To a lawyer you are a cow to be milked. A bank will not only charge and heavily but will also employ solicitors who will also be paid, and those charges will come out of the assets BEFORE the residue iF ANY is handed over. The charges will include a rather glossy set of accounts, beautifully presented, for which the estate will also have been charged.

4. If a solicitor is employed, to keep their nose clean they will employ a valuer (heigh ho estate pays for him too) to value house, chattels etc. The charges are on a % basis so this is an incentive to inflate valuation and thus increase Inheritance Tax. Remedy is for the family to remove anything valuable asap before the valuer sees it. The people rooting through may also be light fingered if they think nobody knows what is there. If someone has to be consigned to what is (often laughably were it not so ghastly) called 'care' do not assume anything valuable will survive their demise.

4. Keep a will SIMPLE. The more complicated it is the more chance of what actually happens being the opposite of what you want.

5. A private executor can get all the forms from their local probate office and fill them all out themselves if they are sufficiently on the ball, thereby saving quite a lot of money. I did my father in law's (modest) probate without any help, it was a long slog but it worked. If you are an executor beware of peiople saying he promised me this, she promised me that. Balls. If it's not in the will, you don't have to listen (unless you think that what is said is appropriate). Death brings out the worst in families.

6. Potential incapacity is another issue. Making and registering a Lasting Power of Attorney : Directgov - Government, citizens and rights tells you about Powers of Attorney. I think the system may have changed since I set up ours two years ago but the principle was to set up and register the PoA with the Public Guardian so that the assigned 'attorney' (your wife, son, whoever) can then go to the Court of Protection to get it activated should the need arise. Under the system I used I set up two each for self and wife - one each for property and finance and another each for health and welfare. Leaving it to the last minute is NOT the way to go as it means huge delay and costs just when taking over is actually required. Your registered PoA can be revoked by you at any time (e.g. if the attorney dies or disappears or is packed off to chokey for fraud).

This post is to some extent the fruit of lessons learned the hard way. And I left out having to intercept a eulogy to get it re-written minus the libels.
 

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