The primary purpose of will writing is to draft a document that is unambiguous and represents the testator’s wishes for the disposal of assets after death. This is a simple enough proposition however frequently the document that is drafted and subsequently executed leads to disputes after the testator’s death resulting in legal action for contested probate. These disputes which often result in substantial legal fees paid by one party or the other are usually due to a lack of skill on the part of the draftsman.
There are now numerous will writing companies in the United Kingdom advertising their services not only on the internet but also in newspapers, magazines, relevant locations and on the television. A lot of the people working for some of these companies have no formal qualifications and surprisingly enough the fees they charge are frequently higher than those charged by a qualified UK wills and probate solicitor in UK who is a professional person governed by statute, overseen by the Law Society and the Solicitors Regulation Authority and answerable to the independent Legal Complaints Service. In addition, wills and probate solicitors are required to carry considerable insurance for negligence, must contribute to a compensation fund and in order to renew their annual practicing certificate must undergo continuing profession education. Ask yourself – who would you rather have drafting your will or dealing with probate – some guy whose been on a course for a week or two and read a ‘how to do’ book or an insured, fully qualified and experienced UK wills and probate solicitor.
You may consider will writing as a do it yourself exercise however you should beware as this is a very fertile area for contested probate solicitors who make substantial money from sorting out amateur documents which may or may not be valid and which often fail to operate in the manner intended by the testator. Common errors, mistakes and pitfalls encountered in homemade wills, even those supplied by the nationwide DIY services include :
failure to properly execute the document in accordance with the law thereby voiding and in certain cases opening an opportunity for the Crown to claim all of the assets
failing to dispose of all assets and in certain cases allowing the Crown to claim those items
failure to take account of changing circumstances including births, marriages and deaths requiring either amendments (a codicil) or a total re-write, at some expense
failing to act following divorce which effectively voids previous executorships and dispositions to a former spouse
improper alterations or amendments rather than a properly execute codicil
failure to include dependents that may have a prior claim under statute
Lets face it, after consideration of the value of most peoples homes, will writing is a big deal. Mr & Mrs Average now usually have property worth at least several hundred thousand pounds and to leave to the hands of amateurs is totally irresponsible. The last thing that the family wants to do is to have to take legal action for disputed or contested probate following the death of a loved one. Do yourself justice and don’t waste your time and money on amateurs – instruct a risk free professional UK wills and probate solicitor.
When most solicitors are making a will they use modern will precedents that have been written in plain English. You will not be bamboozled by legal jargon either on the telephone or in the documents supplied. Most wills and probate solicitors charges are very reasonable and depend on the amount of work necessary to carry out your instructions. Most UK wills and probate solicitors are able to provide you with a quotation over the telephone and offer discounts for family wills or mirror wills for spouses.