Home / The Rix & Kay Blog / What problems can occur with free Will-writing services?
Bruce Clarke

Partner - West Kent (Hadlow)

Hopefully we all know the importance of having a Will in place to ensure our estate goes to those we wish to receive it. It removes a lot of complexity for those loved ones at a time of bereavement, compared with those who face the complex position of passing away without a Will. If you have not yet written your Will then there is, of course, a wide range of options available and they come with different pros and cons. It’s important to ensure you understand the differences between your options and in particular what problems can occur with free Will-writing services.

The pros and cons of free Will-writing services

As you would expect Will-writing services offer a cheaper option than asking a qualified solicitor to write your Will for you. In fact, there are even entirely free Will-writing services available on the internet. The most critical thing to understand with these services is that they are regulated in a different way from solicitors. This means you will not have the same level of protection if problems occur down the line and especially if, for any reason, a dispute arises over your Will.

Other issues you should be aware of with free Will-writing services

  • It is possible that they will not be fully legally qualified. At the very least you should ensure that they are a member of either The Society of Will Writers or The Institute of Professional Will Writers. Even then, they won’t have the same level of qualified legal expertise as a lawyer.
  • Unlike law firms and solicitors, Will-writing companies are not legally required to have a particular level of insurance to cover client losses and, in some circumstances, they can operate without any cover at all. This puts you at risk. As a guide, if you chose a Will-writing service then it’s sensible to use one that has at least £2million of professional indemnity cover. If problems do arise then this level of insurance means you are more likely to be able to claim compensation.
  • Check that they are able to store your Will securely like a solicitor can. However, you should be aware that if a Will-writing service becomes insolvent, because of the way they are regulated, the security of your Will is not guaranteed and it could be irretrievable or even lost.
  • If you require anything other than the most straightforward Will, then a Will-writing service is possibly not for you. In fact, most people think that their Will is going to be fairly simple until they fully understand the options available to them. Unfortunately, most Will-writing services adopt a one-size-fits-all approach and make use of standard templates. A bespoke Will that safe-guards your wishes and ensures preservation of wealth is something that most people should consider.

Client care and free Will-writing services

It’s no secret that most low cost or free Will-writing services operate a streamlined service that often relies on call centre operators, with no dedicated point of contact and sometimes no human contact at all. This can work, and particularly when a very straightforward Will is all that is required, but how do you know that this option is right for you?

To ensure your Will meets all your wishes and protects your personal interests and finances in the best possible way, there is no real substitute for being able to chat things through with a dedicated point of contact. It’s important that this person can guide you on the right course of action and allow you to make informed decisions about your future.

Why choose a qualified lawyer to write your Will?

As one of the most important life-decisions you will make, we think it warrants full attention and specialist professional expertise.

There are many benefits to using the services of our fully insured private client solicitors within our Wills and Estate Planning Team at Rix & Kay. They have a wealth of knowledge and expertise and our solicitors are specialists in their field. We are regulated by the Law Society, Solicitors Regulation Authority and senior members of the team are also members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP).

We always appoint a dedicated lawyer who will advise you through the process from start to finish, beginning with a review of your personal circumstances and the best options available to meet your needs. We make sure you have their direct contact details so you can contact them at any time should you need to ask questions or simply want to seek peace of mind on a particular decision or element of your Will.

We advise individuals based on their own personal and financial circumstances, both in respect of future estate planning and inheritance tax implications. This ensures that your bespoke Will meets your particular needs. We will also store your Will free of charge so there is no risk of such an important legal document being mislaid or damaged in the future.

We are here to help

For an informal chat about Wills, Estate Planning and Trusts or for more information please contact Bruce Clarke, Partner and Head of Private Client, e. BruceClarke@rixandkay.co.uk or call 01732 440853.