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How Much Does a Will Cost?

29 April 2024
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Writing a Will is a crucial step in ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your wishes after you pass away. However, many people hesitate to create a Will, often because they are uncertain about the cost involved. The price of drafting a Will can vary depending on several factors, such as if you choose to write the Will yourself (free) or if you get it professionally written by legal firms such as ourselves (often between £720-£800 for basic Wills). In this article, we'll explore the different elements that influence the cost of creating a Will and provide you with a clearer understanding of what to expect.

How Much Does a Will Typically Cost?

As previously mentioned, different elements affect the cost of a Will, and different types of Wills are available, too. The type of Will you choose will influence the cost, and the most suitable Will for you will often be determined by the amount of estate you own or the complexity of the Will. Let’s take a look at some of the options you have available to you:

DIY Wills - Free

One of the main things we try to do at Culver Law is keep costs down where possible, so it feels suitable to start with the cheapest form of Will; the DIY Will. This type is suitable for those on a budget, saving money and time compared to a professionally drafted Will. However, they are not suitable for everyone, especially those with complex estates or specific legal requirements. Before opting for a DIY approach, consider the potential risks and limitations, and assess whether professional legal assistance may be more appropriate for ensuring the validity and effectiveness of your Will.

Pros of DIY Wills:

  • Cost Effectiveness - DIY Wills are usually free, and affordable templates can be found online to get you started. This can be appealing to individuals with straightforward estate planning needs and limited financial resources.
  • Quick Process - With DIY Wills, you can complete the process relatively quickly, without the need to schedule appointments with lawyers or wait for legal professionals to draft the documents. This can be advantageous if you need to create a Will promptly or have a relatively simple estate.
  • Privacy - Some individuals prefer the privacy that comes with creating their own Wills. By using DIY templates, you can maintain confidentiality and keep your personal and financial information secure without involving third parties.

Cons of DIY Wills:

  • Lack of Legal Expertise - Perhaps the most significant drawback of a DIY Will is the absence of legal expertise. DIY templates may not always account for specific legal requirements, meaning there's a risk of creating a Will that is not legally valid or does not accurately reflect your intentions.
  • Complexity of Estates - DIY Wills are generally suitable for individuals with relatively simple estates. If you have complex assets, such as multiple properties, businesses, or investments, or if you want to establish trusts or include detailed provisions, DIY solutions may not adequately address your needs.
  • Potential for Errors - Without the guidance of a legal professional, DIY Wills are more prone to errors and omissions. Even small mistakes in wording or formatting can lead to ambiguities or challenges during the probate process, potentially delaying the distribution of assets and causing unnecessary stress for your loved ones.

Free Wills Month

Something which many may not be aware of is “Free Wills Month”, a notable event aimed at encouraging people to create or update their Wills while supporting charitable causes. This event is held twice a year in the UK (in March and October) by a coalition of charities. Participating solicitors offer their services to draft basic Wills for those aged 55 and over, completely free of charge. While the Will-writing service is provided at no cost, participants are given the option to consider leaving a legacy gift to one or more of the participating charities in their Will.

Pros of Free Wills Month:

  • Charitable Support - By using this service, your donation can have a significant impact on the charity’s work. Therefore, Free Wills Month not only benefits individuals but also contributes to charitable causes across the UK.
  • Professional Service, for Free - Individuals aged 55 and over can make an appointment with a participating solicitor to have a basic Will drafted or updated at no cost, receiving a professional service for free during the dedicated period.

Cons of Free Wills Month:

  • Only Suitable for Basic Wills - The service provided is only applicable for basic Wills, meaning those with more complex needs and requirements aren’t suitable for this service.
  • Limited Timing and Age Range - This service is only available for those aged 55 and above, which excludes a large number of people who may want to write a Will. It is also only available twice a year - if you need to write a Will at short notice, this service isn’t suitable.

Professionally-drafted Wills - £700+

Perhaps the most common type of Will, a professionally-drafted Will, is created with the assistance of legal professionals. These documents are tailored to individual circumstances and are designed to accurately reflect the testator's wishes regarding the distribution of their assets and the management of their estate after their passing. By weighing the pros and cons and considering your individual needs and circumstances, you can make an informed decision about whether to engage a legal professional to assist with your Will-writing needs.

You can also have a professionally-drafted Mirror Will, which are two nearly identical Wills created by a couple (married or in a civil partnership). In this Will, both partners express similar wishes regarding their estate distribution, and these often cost £1,200 upwards (inclusive of VAT).

Pros of Professionally Drafted Wills:

  • Legal Expertise - Professionals in Will-writing possess the legal skills and expertise necessary to ensure a Will is compliant with relevant legislation and regulations. They can provide advice on complex legal matters such as inheritance tax (IHT) complications, trusts and estate administration, helping you make informed decisions.
  • Personalisation - Professionally-drafted Wills are personalised to individual circumstances, taking into account factors such as the nature and value of your assets, family dynamics and any special provisions or conditions you wish to include, ensuring the Will accurately reflects your intentions and wishes.
  • Minimisation of Errors and Disputes - By engaging a legal professional to draft your Will, you reduce the risk of errors, ambiguities and oversights that could lead to disputes or challenges during the probate process. A well-drafted, professional Will helps reduce the likelihood of family conflict, ensuring a smoother distribution of assets accordingly.
  • Legal Updates and Compliance - Legal professionals stay informed about any changes in estate planning laws and regulations, ensuring the validity of the Will over time. They can also advise on any changes in your circumstances, or relevant legal developments that create the need to update your estate planning documents.

Cons of Professionally Drafted Wills:

  • Costs - One of the primary drawbacks of professionally-drafted Wills is the cost involved. Legal fees for drafting a Will can vary depending on the complexity of your estate, the experience of the professional, and the prevailing rates in your area. The following section will break down the main factors that affect the cost.
  • Timeframes - Drafting a Will with the assistance of a legal professional typically requires time and coordination. You may need to schedule appointments, provide documentation, and engage in discussions to clarify your wishes and preferences. Compared to DIY Wills, this is a longer process.
  • Dependence on Availability - The availability of solicitors in your area may impact your ability to access professional Will-writing services promptly. High demands or scheduling constraints may result in a delay in the process. However, at Culver Law, we have solicitors based in London and Cambridge, as well as offering online services.

What Factors Affect the Cost of a Will?

Understanding the various elements that affect the cost of a Will is essential for making informed decisions and planning accordingly. These can range from more personal reasons such as the significance of your assets, to more general reasons such as your geographic location. Let's look into each of the main factors that can affect the cost of a Will:

Complexity of Estate

If you are a high-networth individual (HNWI), you will usually find that your Will costs more to professionally draft due to the complexity of assets you may own. For example, if you have multiple properties, businesses or investments, your Will may contain more detailed provisions which can lead to a higher cost. At Culver Law, we have a great deal of experience in working with HNWIs to minimise tax burdens on your heirs, ensuring that more of your estate goes to your loved ones.

Complexity of Will

The complexity of the Will itself is perhaps one of the biggest influences on the cost. If a Will is basic, involving straightforward instructions for asset distribution, this will often cost around £720, inclusive of VAT. If a Will is considered to be complex, it will often include trusts, guardianship provisions for minor children and other specific conditions for inheritance. It is difficult to put a general price for complex Wills since each one is so different - if you’d like a price estimate, contact us to discuss how much your Will is expected to cost.

Legal Assistance

As mentioned earlier, it is possible to create DIY Wills for more basic needs. However, a large percentage of people choose to seek legal assistance to ensure their Will is legally binding and comprehensive. Hiring a legal professional to draft your Will can increase the overall cost, but it assures that your document is professionally crafted with legal expertise, tailored to your specific wishes to protect your wealth.

Geographic Location

The cost of creating your Will may vary depending on your geographic location and the prevailing rates of services in your area. In urban areas or locations with a higher cost of living, it may be likely that you’ll have to pay more for legal assistance compared to more rural areas, or areas that are generally considered to be “cheaper” to live in. However, this is typically less of a contributing factor nowadays, and in the United Kingdom especially.

Additional Documents

Depending on your circumstances and preferences, you may require additional documents to complement your Will, such as a power of attorney (POA) or Living Will, often known as a “healthcare directive”. These supplementary documents can incur extra costs but are essential for comprehensive estate planning, so despite raising the cost of the Will, they are useful additions.

What Roles Can Solicitors Play?

Solicitors play a large role in ensuring a professional-quality Will is produced for a client, so it is important to ensure that you choose the right one for your needs. The legal knowledge and experience of a solicitor helps to ensure that individuals' wishes are accurately reflected in their Wills and that their estates are managed effectively according to their instructions. At Culver Law, our team is vastly experienced in writing Wills which vary in complexity; no matter your circumstances, we’ll be willing to work with you.

There are several roles which solicitors play during the Will-writing process, which include the following:

  • Legal advice and guidance
  • Assessment of individual circumstances
  • Drafting and preparation of documents
  • Execution of Will and formalities
  • Safekeeping of documents
  • Updates and amendments
  • Estate administration and probate

The Importance of Choosing the Right Solicitors for You

When you are considering what legal firm to choose for a professionally-drafted Will, it is important to consider your own personal needs and how the solicitors could help ensure these needs are met. Therefore, search around for the most suitable firms with a proven track record in Will writing. If you have more complex needs, ensure your chosen firm is experienced in dealing with a large range of estate to safeguard your assets.

At Culver Law, we want our clients to feel confident that they have made the right decision in choosing us. Our solicitors are full members of STEP (The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) and the Association of Lifetime Lawyers, which means that they are some of the most qualified solicitors in the UK. Our solicitors also have experience with a wide range of issues including vulnerable beneficiaries (such as those living with dementia), understanding the added complexities, and are adept at handling and supporting such clients with patience and respect.

Read the detailed “Writing a Will Guide” by the National Will Register if you would like further information on the Will writing process.

Explore Our Comprehensive Will Writing Services

At Culver Law, our team is experienced professionals in the Will writing department. If you would like further information about our Wills and probate services, read our dedicated Wills pages or get in touch with us for a free consultation.

T: 0203 633 6226
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Authorised and Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. SRA Number: 820401.

Culver Law, London
44 Southampton Buildings
0203 633 6226
Company No. 13313009

Culver Law, Cambridge
9 Hills Road
01223 653010

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