Using a solicitor to write your will

Getting a solicitor to draw up your will is usually the most expensive way to do it. But if it's done properly, using a solicitor can save a lot of stress for those you leave behind, as well as giving you a bit more peace of mind. 

What is the cost of making a will?

The answer varies depending on how complex your affairs are and if the firm is based in a city. The costs of drawing up a will by a solicitor for: 

  • a simple will  - can cost between £144 and £240. So, shopping around and finding someone good for the lower price could save you almost £100
  • a complex will – can cost between £150 and £300. It may be more complex if you have been divorced and have children
  • a specialist will – that involves trusts or oversea properties, or you want tax planning advice – expect to pay a minimum of £500 to £600 according to Which?
  • a mirror will – costs are usually less than doing them individually and are worth considering if you and a spouse or partner want substantively the same (mirror) wills.

Make sure the cost you’re quoted includes VAT. The above prices include VAT.

There is evidence from The Legal Services Board that suggests large potential savings from shopping around for will services. Once you’ve got one quote contact a few others to see if they can beat it. Shopping around may save you £100 for a simple and £150 for a more complex will. Try to find a service you believe will offer you a good quality service at a good price.

Figures above are from the Legal Service Board.

Some solicitors offer discounts for members of the Armed Forces – why not ask, or check the Defence Discount Service for the latest deals from solicitors.

Why use a solicitor?

Seriously consider using a solicitor to write your will if:

  • You’ll have to pay Inheritance Tax – this is paid on estates valued at over £325,000 for an individual or up to £650,000 for a married couple
  • Your family position is complicated – perhaps you have children with a previous partner, or you want to make special arrangements for children or a family member with a disability
  • You have assets overseas like a holiday home
  • You run a business and you expect it to form a part of your estate

The benefits of using a solicitor  

You’re protected if something goes wrong. Solicitors are regulated. If you have any problems you can make a complaint to the solicitor’s firm. If the solicitor's firm doesn’t deal with your complaint properly then you can go to the Legal Ombudsman. 
You can be more confident there are no mistakes. Common problems with wills, like using the wrong witnesses or forgetting to have it signed, could mean it’s useless when you die. Using a solicitor should minimise the risk of things like this happening.
The complicated bits are done for you. The law surrounding inheritances (including Inheritance Tax and trusts) is complicated. Solicitors will be familiar with the law and will be able to help you make the most effective choices.

Money fitness tip

Tell your family where your will is stored and also update your details on JPA.

Your will is stored safely. If a solicitor helps you write your will, they’ll usually store the original for you in a fireproof safe free of charge.

What to expect from your solicitor

 Your solicitor should:

  • Explain your options to help you make decisions about your will
  • Give advice that’s confidential and puts your best interests first
  • Write and check your will according to your instructions  

Make sure they also give a clear indication of costs and how they’ll be calculated at an early stage.  

Solicitors as executors

You can choose to appoint the solicitor or law firm who draws up your will as your executor. This means they will handle the arrangements for your estate when you die. 

Always ask how you’ll be charged – some solicitors will take a percentage of your estate to meet the bills. Others will charge for their time.  

See Choosing an executor for more information.

Using solicitors for free through charities

There are a number of charities that provide a will-writing service for free – but the charity may expect or encourage you to make a donation.  

There are also several schemes that let you have a will drawn up by a solicitor free of charge or for a suggested donation. The largest schemes are:

  • Free Wills Month (England and Wales) – this runs twice a year, usually in March and October in specific parts of England and Wales.
  • Will Aid– this runs in November, with around 1,000 solicitors taking part. You usually have to book in advance, as spaces on the scheme are limited and it does get busy. There’s also a suggested minimum donation.

Before you see a solicitor

Money fitness tip

Don't put it off! Nobody wants to think about the worst happening but you need to have a will in place if you want to be MoneyFit!

 

Save time and money by thinking about what you want your will to contain before your visit your solicitor. 

Find a solicitor

You can find a qualified solicitor in your area by searching the directories provided by the UK’s law societies:

 Check the Defence Discount Service as some solicitors offer discounted services to members of the Armed Forces

If you don’t want to use a solicitor

You don’t have to use a solicitor if you don’t want to – there are other ways to get your will sorted.

You could save some money by using a will writing service - see Will-writing services - pros and cons, or if your will is going to be simple, you may be able to write it yourself - see DIY wills - what you need to know.

Last reviewed: 05/09/2018

This content has been provided by the Money Advice Service