If you’re planning your estate and want to make sure your loved ones are looked after, a solicitor can help. They can draw up a will or check one that you’ve written and ensure it meets all the required standards. They can also advise on other legal documents like Advance Directives (formerly Medical Powers of Attorney) and property trusts.
You may think you don’t have much to leave, but it’s worth identifying all your assets and putting them into the will along with any sentimental items you’d like to pass on. It’s also worth setting out your funeral wishes and making arrangements for children under the age of 18.
Choosing your executors is an important task, as they will be responsible for sorting out your estate after you die. Your solicitor can give advice on this and suggest suitable people. It’s possible to appoint family or friends as executors but it’s generally advisable to use professional services. Sorting out misunderstandings and disputes after your death can cost a lot of money, which will take away from what you’re leaving behind.
It’s worth talking to your family about what you solicitors for will writing near me plan to do, particularly if there are people you intend to exclude from your will. This prevents accusations of undue influence which can lead to a claim being made that your will was not freely drawn up. You can also write a letter to your executors explaining why you’ve excluded certain people, which can be stored with the will.
If you use a will-writing service, it’s a good idea to find out what happens to your documents if the company goes bust. Will-writing firms are unregulated and as a result, their clients have little protection against invalidation or loss. Using a regulated solicitor offers peace of mind that your documents are protected in the event of the firm failing or being sold.
Solicitors have to comply with strict Law Society guidelines when storing wills and other legal documents. You can be assured that your documents will be kept securely and only accessed by your executors or someone authorised to do so. Usually, your solicitor will store the document in their office, but they can recommend a safe place to keep it.
You should expect to pay a few hundred pounds for a solicitor to prepare or check your will. This will include a consultation, documentation and fee for storage. You may be able to get a reduced rate for this work if you’re a member of a union or charity, or through an insurance policy that covers legal costs in the event of death. Alternatively, you might be able to find a solicitor who offers a Will Aid service every November in return for a donation to the charity. You should be given clear information about the cost of a solicitor’s services before you sign any contract. They should be able to explain exactly what they are charging for and how that compares to other providers.