Too good to be true?

As the saying goes if something seems too good to be true, then it probably is! The same can be said for wills. There has been a spate of very cheap or even free wills being marketed lately. We all like a bargain and it’s very tempting to take up one of these offers.

I’m not saying they are all bad but please if you are going to entertain one of these then at least do so with awareness.

Last Will and Testament
Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

Here are some of my top tips of what to look out for and things to consider to help you make up your mind whether the deal is really as good as it seems.

  1. What to you may look like a properly drafted and suitable will may have all sorts of issues which don’t come to light until death. It’s then often a stressful, expensive and long-winded exercise to try and put it right, if indeed it can be put right. I’m personally currently dealing with a case whereby the deceased died 4 years ago, and his surviving wife is suffering because of problems with her late husband’s will. It has cost her thousands of pounds and many sleepless nights worrying. This could have been avoided had the will been properly drafted in the first place.
  2. So how do you know your will is fit for purpose? Just like employing the services of any professional or tradesman it pays to do your due diligence and carry out reasonable checks to reduce the risk of something bad happening. This would include doing a Google search to see if there are any negative experiences of the business or fraudulent activity. Check to see what professional qualifications they hold and what, if any, insurance they hold in case things go wrong. Are they a member of any professional body such as the Society of Will Writers, Institute of Professional Will Writers or STEP? .. and double check with those bodies to ensure they are in fact members. Watch out for fake reviews and always try to get a personal recommendation from someone that has actually used them. Speak to them in person – don’t just take their word for it from an email or online chat.
  3. Check to see who is appointed as executor. Many free / cheap wills appoint themselves (or another company that they own or have a connection with) as executor meaning that they will charge you for administering the estate after death. These are called professional executor appointments. There are good reasons for appointing a professional executor when the estate is complex or as a reserve executor but rarely is this the case for simple wills…. And in the case of free / cheap wills then these will all be simple wills! A professional executor will typically charge a percentage to carry out probate and this can run into thousands of pounds.
  4. Check to see if any gifts have been left to beneficiaries (including charities) that you would not wish to inherit your estate.
  5. Where will your will be stored? How much are you having to pay to store it? .. and equally to retrieve it when required? Many offers for free /cheap wills tie you in to taking up storage with them which may be way above the going rate and your will may not actually be stored somewhere safe or suitable. I have many clients coming to me that have had their wills stored only to find that 20 years later when the family member has died, the will can’t be found because the business is either no longer trading or been merged with another practice .. and the will has been lost.

If you already have a will in place and want re-assurance that it is fit for purpose then we will happily check it over for you – free of charge – to give you peace of mind that it’s suitable. We will of course happily review any other estate planning requirements and services you may have or require such as Powers of Attorney to make sure they are also suitable for your requirements.

I hope this has helped. We all like a bargain and I would certainly encourage you to shop around to make sure you are getting value for money. Hopefully, these points will help you to make that decision.

Please contact Ann-Marie if you would like to chat through any concerns you may have 07876 526799 or