How Much Does a Will Cost?
Read our guide on how to budget for a Will and what it should cost.
1) Summary in 30 Seconds
- The cost of getting a Will made will depend on the type of service you use and who you use.
- There are lots of very inexpensive online services which can help you to write your Will for under £50. But their services are limited and companies may try to up-sell more expensive packages.
- If you have a more complicated estate or need legal advice, it is best to get a solicitor to write your Will. Prices for a simple Will usually start at around £150.
2) What Does It Cost to Make a Will?
The quick answer is, it depends. Will-writing is unregulated, which means you can write your own Will, use an online service, pay a professional Will writer, or instruct a solicitor. These are all possible avenues to getting a valid Will made. But not all of these methods are alike, and price is just one of several factors you need to consider when shopping around to have a Will made.
However for a lot of people, price is their primary concern. And all of us want the best possible value for money.
This is our breakdown of what it costs to have a Will made. The prices are approximate as prices and services can vary greatly.
3) Compare Services
We all want good value for money, but a Will is not just any document. It is a legally binding instrument that can have a profound effect on the future of your family and your loved ones. It is therefore crucial that your Will fulfils all the legal requirements of a valid Will, does not omit or exclude any of your estate and that there are no mistakes or errors in it.
If you have quite a simple estate, then this will be a straightforward task. But there are still some problems you can run into when making even a simple Will.
- Do It Yourself. The primary appeal of attempting to write your own Will or using a low-cost online company is usually price and speed. It is possible to download many free Will templates online. Many also include a helpful guide which breaks down some of the terminology and answers basic questions. You can have it finished and printed out within minutes, and once you have fulfilled the necessary legal requirements, you could have a valid Will. So what’s stopping you from doing this? A major drawback is your lack of legal knowledge. We don’t know what we don’t know, and this means you could unwittingly make a mistake or error or leave something crucial out of the Will. With no professional oversight, these mistakes could only come to light after your death. They could potentially even invalidate your Will, making your estate Intestate. Even if you have made a valid Will, it might not be a very good one. Without in-depth legal knowledge, you probably won’t be able to make anything more than the most basic of Wills.
- Online Services. Many online services offer speedy Wills for a very low price. Some claim you can write a Will in just under 15 minutes. As part of their service they generally offer basic advice on how to fill out the forms, and your finished Will is checked by a solicitor or other legal professional to ensure that everything has been filled in correctly. Many of these services have excellent customer service via phone or online chat to help you with the process. But with such an array of online tools cropping up, they are not all alike. The price advertised is usually a base price for the most basic package, with any additional products or services costing extra. These services also admit that they are limited in scope and advise people to find a solicitor if they have a complex estate that requires legal advice.
- Will-writing professionals. As writing a Will itself is not a regulated activity, anyone can call themselves a “Will-writer” and offer their services. However, they are several reputable and established companies that specialise in inexpensive Will-writing services. These usually include a home visit, who will run through a questionnaire with you, and within a few weeks you have a Will that has been checked over by a legal professional. Many choose this route for the affordability and the convenience of having someone visit at their home. However, due to their unregulated profession, not all of these companies have scrupulous practices. They will use a very low advertised price to draw in clients, who are then “up-sold” more expensive packages by convincing and sometimes pushy salespeople. So it is important to look out for offers or services for prices so low they seem too good to be true — there may be a hidden catch.
4) Why You Should Use a Solicitor
It is true that it is entirely possible to have a valid Will made by one of the methods outlined above. Having even the most basic of Wills is better than no Will at all. And there are many reasons why someone might need to have a Will made quickly and cheaply – for example, before travelling abroad or before having medical treatment. But writing a Will is not something to be taken lightly. And there are many reasons why have a solicitor write your Will might be the best option for you.
- Legal knowledge and expertise. With detailed information on your situation, a solicitor will be able to give you expert legal advice on writing your Will and any other estate planning matters. They can answer your questions and concerns, whilst also taking on the actual legal work involved. With their knowledge of the law they can account for things that you might have overlooked, ensuring that your Will is accurate and covers the entirety of your estate.
- Legal Protection. Unlike professional Will-writers, online services or trying to do it yourself, you benefit from the legal protection solicitors have. In England and Wales, solicitors are regulated by the SRA. In the event that something goes wrong or a mistake is made, you are guaranteed recourse and are more likely to come to a satisfactory resolution. If you write your own Will, your family will have no one to blame if something was incorrect or it is invalid in some way. Solicitors must also have indemnity insurance, which is also a protection for their clients.
- Less likely to be mistakes or errors made. If the person writing our Will makes an error, without legal knowledge it is unlikely we would notice it. Of course, solicitors can still make mistakes. But they are much less likely to do so. They will not only make sure the Will itself is comprehensive and complete, but also that all the legal requirements of a valid Will have been followed.
- Less chance of future problems. Solicitors keep detailed records of all your meetings and will keep this on file. This serves as a record of how you expressed your wishes for your Will and your mental capacity at the time of writing it. This will make it less likely that anyone could contest your Will after your death.
- Inheritance tax advice. There are certain ways that the payment of inheritance tax can be reduced. This is especially true if you have a large estate. It can be complicated and there are often many different options available. This is also something your solicitor would be able to advise you of.
- Help for complex family or financial situations. People are living longer, increasing the chances that they might remarry at least once. This creates more complex family dynamics of children and grandchildren from both marriages. There are other situations as well that could require more specialised help, such as if you own property abroad or if you are a business owner. If you are struggling to see how to manage many moving parts when it comes to your estate planning, it is probably best to find a solicitor who can advise you on this.
5) Next Steps
There’s a few steps you can take today to get started on your Will. Even if you do just one of these today, you are a step closer to completing this really important task.
- Do your research and decide what you want. Hopefully through this article you have a good overview of what different services can offer you and what might suit you best. What’s your budget? What questions do you need answered from a legal expert? Would a simple Will suffice, or do you need something more specialised to you?
- Compare services and prices. Once you’ve narrowed down what you need and how much you want to pay, compare what different companies or firms are offering within your price range. Check for hidden fees. For example, how much does it cost if you wanted to update the Will? Do they offer storage as well? How much would you have to pay for that?
- Call or contact for more information. If something looks right, it’s good to do a bit more research before committing. Contact the company or solicitor. They may be able to offer a discount, or include an extra service in with the price. Be alert to “up-selling” through customer service teams eager to sell you the most expensive package.
- Get advice. As we’ve mentioned through this article, having a Will is really important. It’s also not something to take lightly, as a mistake could cost your family and loved ones a lot of time and money trying to resolve. Think seriously about getting legal advice from a solicitor who can advise you on the best course of action for your Will.