Earlier in the week I was tagged in a Facebook post in which someone was looking for Will Writer recommendations.
As I scrolled through the comments two things both stood out and concerned me. The first was a comment about always using a solicitor to write your Will and the second was people recommending various unregulated local Will Writers with nothing to shout about other than a catchy company name. Excluding recommendations for me/ Nsure Estate Planning services who are the only Members of The Institute of Professional Willwriters in Worthing there were two kinds of recommendations at polar opposites to each other.
I will start today by discussing the first suggestion of only using a solicitor to write your Will. It cannot be argued that solicitors aren’t professionals who understand the complexities of many different legal fields and they are experts at understanding the jargon that confuses so many people. However, some people may say that they can be considered the legal world’s ‘Jack of all trades’. In fact when I was studying with the Institute of Professional Willwriters many of my fellow students were solicitors who wanted to properly learn the intricacies of Will writing as it was, in their opinion, so briefly covered during their law school training.
The Law Society wanted and I believe still wants, to make Will Writing a reserved practice once again. What this means is that the only people who would be able to write your Will for you would be solicitors who are by default members of The Law Society. In 2011 the Legal Services Board asked the Legal Service Consumer panel to examine the Will writing market. This examination was backed by The Law Society and the investigation compared solicitors against specialist Will writers which include members of The Institute of Professional Willwriters, banks or affiliate groups, paper self completion and online self completion. The outcome of the investigation was that there was virtually no difference between the quality of Wills written by specialist Will writers versus solicitors – not a single percentage in the difference between the quality of Wills written by either group. So why, if members of the Institute of Professional Willwriters are as good as the solicitors who offer Will writing services, would solicitors want to ring fence this practice solely for themselves you ask? Well, there are in my opinion two reasons. The first and I’d like to think the main reason, is because The Law Society highly valued legal documents being properly drafted and consumers having protection should they ever require it. The second reason which no doubt plays a part is due to the revenue that Will writing creates for solicitors. Have you ever heard the expression ‘buying the goodwill’? It allegedly originates from a time when if a solicitor sold their firm the buyer would be purchasing future business in the form of executorship and this became known as ‘buying the goodwill’.
In the case of my late grandfather’s Will the solicitor who was the executor was set for a fantastic pay day as not only was he charging a time based fee but also a percentage of the total value of the estate and a fixed fee! In contrast, Nsure’s fees are clear and transparent and we would always discuss and encourage our clients to consider appointing a friend or relative to act as their executor with us in reserve should their initial appointment be unwilling or unable to act for them, potentially saving our clients thousands.
Tomorrow I will go into detail about the dangers of unregulated Will writers verses using a Member of The Institute of Professional Willwriters or a solicitor. I hope today however, that I have cleared up the myth that you must use a solicitor to write your Will when using a member of The Institute of Professional Willwriters offers you both expertise and protection, often at a far more affordable price.