Writing a will – your options

Money Advice Service

Everyone should have a will, and there are several ways of getting yours written. From solicitors to do-it-yourself wills, read what to expect, what you’ll pay, and how to choose what’s right for you.

It’s your choice

You might feel confident writing it yourself, but be careful.

For a will to be valid, you need to meet certain conditions. It’s easy to make a mistake, so be sure you are familiar with the rules. If in doubt speak to an expert.

There are three main options to choose from:

  • use a solicitor
  • use a will writing service
  • do it yourself.

Read on to decide which is best for you – then pick one and get started. But whatever you do, don’t do nothing.

The main will-writing options

Use a solicitor to write your will

Solicitors are the experts – they know their stuff, and they should write you a watertight will that does exactly what you want it to.

It’s the most expensive option, but it will give you most peace of mind, especially if your affairs are complex.

You should definitely consider a solicitor if:

  • your estate may have to pay Inheritance Tax (currently, you might have to pay if your estate’s value (including property) is more than £325,000)
  • you’ve got a complex family situation, like former partners or estranged children, and you want to be sure that your estate can be divided as you wish
  • you want to protect someone’s interests after you’ve gone, like a disabled family member
  • you want to talk through the options with an expert or you need some support you can trust

Expect to pay: A single will, drawn up by a solicitor might cost between £144 and £240. A joint will for couples might cost between £150 and £300. Make sure the cost you’re quoted includes additional costs such as VAT.

If your affairs are complex, such as involving trusts or overseas properties, it can cost between £500 to £600, according to Which?

Use a will-writing service

This is a cheaper option than a solicitor, and offers some support and advice, but its very much a case of getting what you pay for.

If you’re deciding between a will writer and a solicitor, remember that:

  • your will writer won’t necessarily be legally qualified
  • will-writing services might not have been trading as long as many solicitors’ firms – important if you also want them to store your will
  • will writers aren’t regulated in the same way as solicitors, so there’s less comeback for you if things go wrong – so try and use a will writer who’s a member of a professional organisation.

Expect to pay: around £75 and upwards. Extra services, like looking after your will, are often quoted separately. These costs can add up.

Many charities offer free will-writing services but they do hope for a donation. Some are only available to the over 55s and some may not be available near where you live.

For more information, read about cheap and free wills on the MoneySavingExpert website.

Write your own will

The cheapest – and perhaps riskiest way – to write a will is to do it yourself. You can buy templates online or at stationery shops.

This is only really a suitable option if your affairs are very simple. For example, if you’re married or in a civil partnership and have children, and you want to leave everything to the survivor of you on the first death, and your children in, say, equal shares on the second death.

The template should show what you need to do to make sure that it is signed, dated and witnessed properly, and that your old wills are revoked.

It’s important to follow these rules, otherwise there is a risk that your home-made will will be invalid.

The law about inheritances and how they’re taxed can be complex and things might change between when you write your will and when you die. That makes it risky to write your own will without any advice at all. But you can do it if you want to.

Expect to pay: as little as £10 for a basic template.

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.

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Some important information about Rest Less Money

We want you to understand the positives, but also the limitations of using our site. We operate in a journalistic manner and therefore all information, guidance or suggestions provided are intended to be general in nature, and you should not rely on any of the information on the site in connection with the making of any financial decision.

When we set out to build Rest Less Money, we wanted to be a trusted place where you could find helpful information about financial matters affecting the over 50s. As a free to use resource, we try hard to provide the best information we can, but we cannot guarantee that we won’t occasionally make mistakes. So please note that you use the information on our site at your own risk, and we can’t accept liability if things go wrong.

Key things to remember when using Rest Less Money:

We do not offer financial advice – As a journalistic site, it’s important to know that we do not provide financial advice. You should always do your own research before choosing any financial product so that you can be certain it is right for you and your specific circumstances. If you are in any doubt, please seek professional financial advice from a regulated financial advisor.

No Liability – please note that you use the information on Rest Less Money at your own risk and we can’t accept liability for how you choose to use the information given on our site. We will often provide links to content or products and services available on other third-party websites. These are provided purely for your convenience and we cannot be held responsible for any content, or any of the products and services offered on any website that we link to.

 

Accuracy of Information – We try to make sure that all the information provided on Rest Less Money is correct at the time of publishing as we want it to be the most helpful resource possible. Sadly, we are not perfect however, and so we can make no guarantees as to the completeness, accuracy, adequacy or suitability of the information available on the site.
Whilst we work hard to try and provide accurate information, deals and prices can change, so whilst they may be correct at the time of writing, providers may subsequently decide to alter them later – so always double check first.

A final note on the Rest Less Community Forums – always remember that anyone can post their opinion on the Rest Less Community Forums, so it can be very different from our own opinion and may not be factual or well researched. Always be wary of any content posted on the forums and be sure to do your own research and due diligence on anything suggested. 

We hope you find Rest Less Money a useful resource and we would welcome your feedback at [email protected] on how to make it even better. For more information on any of the above you can read our full terms and conditions.

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