Hiring a will writer is an essential part of inheritance planning. While our own mortality is not something we want to think about too much, sorting out our finances can give us and our loved ones much needed peace of mind when the inevitable happens.
WHY DO YOU NEED A WILL?
Having the right will is important no matter how much money and assets you have. Without it, your affairs can remain in limbo for years and a part of your inheritance might end up divided in ways you do not approve.
The benefits of having a will include:
- You can choose how you want your assets allocated, giving you control and protection.
- Your family and loved ones are protected. Without a will, your unmarried partner might not be entitled to anything, for example.
- You are able to reduce the tax payable on inheritance.
Overall, having a will in place will provide you with a peace of mind that once you are no longer here, your loved ones won’t be burdened with unnecessary complications with your inheritance.
HOW CAN WILL WRITERS HELP?
You can’t simply write things on a piece of paper, however. For a will to be valid, it has to be:
- In writing and signed by you and two witnesses.
- Written when you have the full mental capacity to do so and you understand the impact of the will.
- Written voluntarily and without pressure.
To ensure your will meets these legal requirements, many choose to hire a will writer. Having professional help can guarantee your will works as intended and your will won’t cause lengthy legal battles after you’re gone.
Will writers ensure your will meets the legal requirements but they can also advise you on how to create the best will, considering your personal circumstances. They can provide a lot of peace of mind to your inheritance planning, making this touchy subject a little less daunting. For example, they might be able to advise you on how to avoid high inheritance taxes.
BEST WAY TO FIND A WILL WRITER
There are many ways to find a will writer. You can find professional will writers, as well as solicitors and even some banks offering will writing services. Will writing services are either done online or in face-to-face consultations.
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A WILL WRITER
Because you can find many service providers, it’s important to take care when selecting a will writer. Since a will needs to meet strict legal standards, you don’t want to end up with an unprofessional or unqualified writer.
There are four key things to consider when choosing a will writer:
1. Check Qualifications
The safest option is to use a solicitor to ensure they understand the legal requirements and are covered for liability. If you are opting for another kind of service, make sure they are part of either The Society of Will Writers or The Institute of Professional Will Writers.
2. Ask for a Quote
Like with most services, you should always ask for an estimated quote for the service you need. This allows you to compare your options and find a will writer within your budgetary framework.
3. Ensure They Are Insured
You’ll also need to make sure the will writer is insured to cover the legal costs in the event your will is challenged. Money Advice Service recommends choosing a service with at least £2 million of professional indemnity cover.
4. Think About the Services You Need
It’s important to think about what you need from the will writer before you hire one. Do you simply need someone to help you write the will or do you require more help in terms of understanding the legal framework?
If you feel like you want advice on the best way to manage your assets once you are gone, it might be helpful to talk to a solicitor or an accountant as part of the will writing process.
The above points will guide you when picking a will writer. In general, it is important to think about your wishes before you hire someone to work with. When you have a clear idea of your existing assets and how you’d like to divide them after you die, you can make the will writing process smoother. Don’t venture into the process without a general understanding of what you want to achieve.
UPDATING AND STORING YOUR WILL
Remember to keep your will safe after completing it. You can keep a will at home, of course. But many choose to keep it with a solicitor, accountant or even their bank.
Furthermore, it’s important to keep updating your will, especially if your circumstances change. You should discuss with your will writer about the option to check your will every five years to make sure it continues to reflect your wishes.
You cannot simply amend the original will. Your options are to either:
- Add a codicil to the existing will
- Create a new will
If you already have a will, remember to mention it to your will writer so you are able to begin the new will with a clause that revokes the previous wills and codicils.
GET HELP WITH YOUR WILL AND INHERITANCE PLANNING
At Devonshire Green, we’re committed to helping you with every aspect of your wealth management. If you would like to discuss your will writing needs or get more advice on choosing the right service for your needs, do not hesitate to contact us.