The importance of drawing up a will cannot be overemphasised, yet many people do not know their way around getting a will that will suit their specific purpose. This is because many do not understand the process involved. Others are overwhelmed by the amount of information on the internet about the cost of making a will. The legal complexities involved in the making of a will shouldn’t cause you sleepless nights as it is easily understandable if explained by a legal expert or if you follow the guideline of estate planning the UK. With such a guideline, one can draw a will for themselves, either by downloading a will template online or by using will-making software.
Types of will and their respective cost
The cost of making a will varies as it depends on the type of will a person wants to draft out, but, surprisingly, most wills are not as expensive as people assume. The reasonable price for a will ranges between £150 to £250. Some of the major types of will are:
A living will is a legal document where a person states the kind of medical treatment they want to be given if they are unable to communicate their desires to their doctor due to a terminal illness or a life-threatening situation. In these circumstances, the doctor consults the patient’s living will to check, for instance, if they have stated a wish to be put on life support equipment such as tube feeding or assisted breathing. The document acts as a representative for the incapacitated patient. Without such a living will, the family may decide not to honour the patient’s verbal wishes. The average cost of drawing up a living will, with the inclusion of VAT, is £90.
In the single will, the client states how they want their estate and assets to be distributed. The single will is suitable for people who are not yet married, or if they are married, the way they want their will to be written is different from their spouse. If both spouses are thinking in the same direction, the estate planning solution will be to draft a mirror will. The single will costs £150, inclusive of VAT.
The cost of a mirror will, with VAT included, is £245. It is mainly drawn up by couples who want to make an identical will; they both want the same thing if one dies before the other. For example, if one of the spouses dies, he or she leaves the property to their partner. The main idea behind such a will is to ensure that the other partner is protected when one of them dies, and if both die, the children will inherit the property. The only difference in the mirror will forms is the name of the partner and their funeral wishes.
Lasting Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA
This is a legal document that permits an individual to make a decision for a loved one or act on behalf of the person while they are alive if, for example, they are hospitalised or mentally incapable of making decisions. When the person dies, a Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA ceases to be effective. The lasting Lasting Power of Attorney/LPA costs around £270.
Cost of making a will
The advent of the internet has made it possible to draft a will in the comfort of your own home. It has allowed for cheaper options for making a will. Some of the options are:
A do-it-yourself will is a will that a person drafts by themselves without hiring a solicitor. The will is legally binding and the will form is signed and witnessed by an independent adult. By creating a will yourself, you save money by not hiring a solicitor, and you also spend less time preparing it. However, the DIY will come with high risk, because something as little as an incorrect wording can make it invalid, thereby costing the person their property if the court cannot rectify it. And for cases that can be resolved by the court, the person will spend a lot of time and money in the process of rectifying the will. Also, in trying to avoid executor fees, many people assign their family members who do not know what it entails to be an executor. It is the job of an executor to make sure all assets in the will are accounted for and he will also be the one that makes sure these assets are transferred to the right party. Assets might be bonds, real estate, stocks etc. which require high professionalism so that one can know the worth. And that is why it is not a good idea to appoint someone who is not experienced in these subjects as executor.
Pre-made will template
These are downloadable templates found online, which can be obtained with little or no charge. With some websites, all you need to do is fill in an online questionnaire, and they will help customise a will template that will suit your needs and be valid in your country, as estate planning UK will be different from that of other countries. The problem with a premade template is that it might exclude some specific information needed if you require a particular type of will, which can cause problems in the future.
Internet-based companies such as LegalZoom, BuildaWill, and Nolo provide individuals with the opportunity to create wills with their software. The use of software for wills and estate planning is cost-effective, with an average cost of £25. It also saves time as you can complete your will in under 30 minutes, and the software allows you to go back and edit your will in case there is a mistake. Some wills are very complex, however. For such a will, good estate planning advice would be to get yourself a solicitor to guide you so that you do not have any issues in the future.
Hiring a solicitor
To draft a standard will, the best estate planning advice would be to get a solicitor to draft the will. Their professionalism makes them capable of building a technical and specific will that can help reduce the probability of any legal issues caused by common mistakes. The hiring of a solicitor helps save the time the client would have used in learning how to create a will themselves. Another advantage of hiring a solicitor is that they can act as your executor to ensure that everything written in the will is carried out. Many people shy away from hiring a solicitor as the average cost of hiring one is £200. Also, if the solicitor is acting as an executor, they will charge an executor fee, which varies from 1% to 5% of the estate’s value with the inclusion of VAT.
Factors that affect the cost of making a will
There is no one answer to the question, “How much does a will cost?”, as there are different prices for different wills, and certain factors can determine the cost. Such factors are:
Location of the solicitor
The total cost of preparing a will with a solicitor who is some distance from you will be on the high side compared to those nearby because of travel costs. The solicitor will ask for reimbursement, thereby increasing the total cost of creating a will. And even if you decide to travel to meet the solicitor, you will still be the one to incur the expenses.
Specialisation of the solicitor
Solicitors who specialise in making wills charge more than those without a specialty in that area, as they are well versed on the subject. They make a well-structured will that favours the persons they represent, and the probability of encountering any legal issue in the future will be low.
Complexity of financial affairs
The complexity of the wills and estate planning of a client can increase the cost of drafting a will. The drafting of some wills demands a high level of speciality. In such cases, the best estate planning solution would be to hire a probate solicitor because the price the solicitor charges will be minimal compared to what is at stake.
Many people have the notion that drafting a will and estate planning is only for the wealthy in society and that getting one for themselves will cost a fortune. Because of this, many do not take the time to ask how much a will cost.
At My Estate Planning, the cost of our last will and testament is affordable and we are involved in every step taken to draft a will for our client to avoid any mistake. Having a will do you a lot of good. It is a fact that nobody wishes to die as death brings us pain, but it is more painful that after a person dies there will be an argument over the sharing of property.
We encourage you to inquire and purchase one of My Estate Planning last will and testament services to help secure the future of your loved ones.