Around 30% of the people who die in the UK every year do so before they’ve written a will. The first thing that prevents people from making a will is the unpleasant idea of ourselves no longer being here. The second is price. So, how much does it cost to make a will?
Because writing a will is one of the best ways we all have to protect our loved ones after we are gone. And, though most of us have a general notion that the ones we love will automatically inherit our things after we’re gone, the legal situation is often quite different.
Here is everything you need to know about the cost of will writing and why it’s worth seeing it as a necessary protection for our families:
What Is A Will?
A will is a legal document that lays out your wishes for your assets such as any property or money you have), how your young children should be cared for, and any personal wishes such as the way you would like to be buried after you die.
A well-written will can also ensure that your nearest and dearest do not have to pay an unnecessary amount of inheritance tax.
Why Write A Will?
1) Protect your family
Writing a will ensures that your assets will go to who you want them to after you pass away.
Most people assume that this happens automatically after they die. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Without a will, your grieving family may also be left to tackle a stressful legal process to get the fruits of your hard work.
2) Name a guardian for your children
Most people also assume that appointing godparents means these carefully-chosen individuals will care for your young children after you pass away. Sadly, this is another commonly-held belief that has no legal basis.
If you want to make the godparents of your children their legal guardians, you need to name them as such in a will.
3) Safeguard your assets or family business
Make sure your assets go to whom you want them to and heirlooms like a family business stay in the family.
How Much Is The Average Cost Of A Will In The UK?
Writing a will is very important. And, while writing one isn’t free, it’s very cost-effective as far as legal protections for your own future and that of your family go.
There are several ways you can draw up this kind of protection. But the average cost of a will in the UK differs most depending on how complex the will you want to create will be:
- A simple will (£150-£250) – if you have no children and some fairly simple assets, such as bank accounts, and relatively few debts, a simple will should have a low cost. It’s the most common type of will made in the UK.
- A complex will (£150-£300) – if you have been divorced and have children, for example, the complexities of writing a will increase. So does the cost.
- A specialist will (£500 or more) – tax planning advice, trusts, properties overseas? The most complex wills start getting more expensive because of the value and nature of the assets they are designed to protect.
Why Use A Solicitor To Write A Will?
Technically speaking, you don’t have to use a solicitor to write a will. It’s also the most expensive way to write one, as you’ll have to pay solicitor’s fees. However, using a solicitor is always a smart idea. This is because of:
1) Peace of mind
Your will is an important legal document no matter how many assets you have. A will that can’t be enforced not only risks your wishes being overturned, it also creates a stressful situation for your loved ones – on top of dealing with your passing.
Using a solicitor gives you the peace of mind of knowing your will is valid and enforceable. If you use the wrong witnesses, don’t sign the will, or make any number of other common mistakes, your family will be in serious trouble when it comes to enacting your wishes.
A simple will is something you might risk writing yourself under some circumstances. If you have overseas assets, a more complex family situation with multiple children from different relationships, or control a business though, writing a will that will stand the test of time becomes much more complex.
3) Inheritance tax and law
Inheritance law isn’t as straightforward as most of us would wish. A will-writing solicitor will be fully informed as to the complexities and be able to guide you in how best to protect your family from mistakes while ensuring you pay the necessary tax.
What If I Don’t Want To Use A Solicitor?
Not using a solicitor to write a will is risky but possible. You can:
1. Write a will yourself – you can do this online for relatively little cost, perhaps as little as £30.
2. Use a will-writing scheme – there are schemes such as Will Aid and Will Writing Month in England and Wales that offer free or very low-cost options for getting a will written.
3. Find a charity – there are several charities that provide free will writing services. Most will suggest a donation of some kind, not unreasonable given the free service.
Whichever method you choose though, writing a will is important. Worries about how much it costs to make a will pale by comparison with the costs of not making one.
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