Best Will Writing Services in the UK
You could believe you are too young to need a will or that it is clear who will inherit your estate.
But having a will drawn up is the best way to ensure that your wishes are followed once you are gone and that your loved ones are provided for.
When most people consider drawing up a will, they generally think of two methods:
- Use a solicitor
- Write it themselves
Increasingly, will writing services are providing a cost-effective third option.
Your will explains in detail who will receive portions of your estate, the specifics of their share and under what conditions.
If you die without a will, intestate, your family will have no say in how your estate is divided. The decision will be made by the legal system.
Your estate may consist of:
- Personal possessions
- Shares and investments
Having a will simplifies the process of probate at a time when your loved ones will be experiencing grief.
Beyond taking control of who will benefit from your estate, the reasons you might need a will include:
One of the most important aspects of leaving a will is to provide for your dependents.
Whether that includes your spouse or partner, children or other family members, drawing up a will ensures that your estate will benefit the people you care for.
Inheritance tax is currently paid when your estate is worth more than £325,000.
The terms of your will may help to reduce the amount of inheritance tax that your family will be liable for after your death.
- No inheritance tax is due if you leave the portion of your estate over the value of £325,000 to your spouse or civil partner.
- If your children or grandchildren inherit your home, the inheritance tax threshold rises to £500,000.
- You may be able to take advantage of the various reliefs and exemptions that can be applied to a deceased person’s estate, such as business property relief.
Written effectively, you will reduce the amount of inheritance tax due or wipe it out altogether.
If you and your partner are not married or in a civil partnership and you die intestate, it is unlikely that your partner will receive any portion of your estate.
Writing a will means that you can provide for them after your death regardless of your marital status.
How any property you own jointly is dealt with after your death will depend on whether it is owned by joint tenants or tenants on a common basis:
- Joint tenants basis – The property is transferred to the other owner under survivorship rules whether you have a will or not.
- Tenants in common with a will – Your portion of the property is classified as part of your estate, and you can instruct who inherits ownership.
- Tenants in common without a will – Intestacy laws apply, and you have no control over who your portion of the property passes to.
If the property is overseas, the laws of that country will apply.
A will is not written in stone. It can be altered as your circumstances change.
For example, should you have children, you may wish to add them to your will as beneficiaries.
Equally, as your estate changes, such as the taking up of shares and investments, you may wish to add details of who will benefit from them when you die.
Where you have definite wishes on the form your funeral should take, for instance, religious or not religious, burial or cremation, you can ensure that these wishes are followed by including them in your will.
Where you have non-dom status or live overseas, the way your estate is handled upon your death is different to those living in the UK.
Should you live and die overseas, your UK inheritance tax will generally be calculated on your UK assets only. This includes money held in UK bank accounts.
Having a will drawn up will clarify what is considered UK assets and what is not.
If you own a business, regardless of the size or industry, it must be included in your will. The process of deciding who inherits that business may be straightforward, but equally, it may be complicated by:
- The fact that your family have no interest in running the business
- The fact that your family may want to continue the business but do not have the skills
- Leaving your business to multiple beneficiaries who cannot agree on how to run it
Writing a will provides an opportunity to consider the future of your business once you are gone.
The executor or executors of your will take on the task of ensuring that your wishes are complied with.
In addition to this, they may:
- Value your estate
- Investigate whether inheritance tax is applicable, and if it is, pay it
- Apply for probate
- Distribute the estate
Generally, the executor is named in your will. Where an executor is not appointed and even where a will exists, the probate service will appoint an independent executor.
There are three options when you wish to write your will:
- You can use a solicitor
- You can do it yourself
- You can use a will writing service
There are several reasons why you would use a will writing service instead of the other two options:
- You understand how a will works and what should be included; however, you need extra help to ensure it is worded correctly and legally sound
- Solicitor fees are too expensive, and/or you want to find a cost-effective alternative
- The contents of your will are straightforward, and you need no extra-legal advice
If any or all of the above apply to you, then a will writing service may be the ideal option.
The downside to using a will writing service over a solicitor is generally twofold.
First, individuals providing a will writing service do not always work under the same legal regulations as solicitors and may not carry any legal qualifications.
Second, a will writing service is simply that, and as such, they may not provide a storage facility for your will or inform you of the need to update your will in the way that a solicitor might.
Before using a will writing service, it is always advised to check that they are part of a recognised trade body, currently the Society of Will Writers or the Institute of Professional Will Writers, and have sufficient, up-to-date legal knowledge and training.
Whether you use a will writing service, a solicitor or write it yourself, it is your responsibility to make sure that your will is legally valid.
There are several requirements for a will to be recognised as lawful and executable:
- You must be at least 18 years old
- You must voluntarily agree to the writing of the will and not be coerced by another party
- You must be of sound mind and reasoning at the time that the will is written
- The will must be produced in writing
- The will must be signed in the presence of two witnesses who are over 18 years old
- The two witnesses must sign the will while you are present
Further to this, you may wish to take legal advice on the contents of your will to ensure that they agree with related legislation.
Cost of will: From £90
Updates: Unlimited for £10 a year
Lasting Power of Attorney: £60
Beyond’s online system can be used to write your will in around 15 minutes through a series of questions.
This is then checked by a team of legal experts, who will inform you if any alterations are advised.
Once the will is complete, you are free to print it off yourself for signing and witnessing.
You can sign up for unlimited updates and will storage through the company's £10/year subscription service. A partner wills service is available for couples, starting at £135.
Beyond also offers a lasting power of attorney service, should you wish to give someone you trust the power to make your decisions for you, a probate service and a funeral arrangement service.
The will service is free up to the point when you download the will.
2. Which? Wills
Cost of will: From £99
Updates: Only with certain levels of service
Lasting Power of Attorney: From £139
Which? Wills offers three levels of will service:
- Self Service
- Self Service & Legal Review
- Which? Wills Premium
These increase in price depending on the level you choose. Self Service is the least expensive, starting at £99 for a single will.
Complete the online will questionnaire to begin the process. This should take no more than 30 minutes, although you can save and return to the questionnaire later.
The basic service does not include legal advice or eyes on your will; however, this can be accessed through the Self Service & Legal Review level.
Which? Wills provides a mirror wills service for couples, starting at £156. Will and power of attorney can be purchased as one package, starting from £248.
Cost of will: From £150
Updates: Not included
Lasting Power of Attorney: From £354
The Co-op will writing process has four steps:
You begin by filling out the online questionnaire. Advice is available to help you with this.
Arrange a telephone appointment with a professional will writer to talk over your online will questionnaire. Payment will be required at this point.
Once the will is altered, if needs be, and complete, a draft copy is sent to you. If it is acceptable, you may sign it. If not, the Co-op will writing service will make the necessary changes and send you a fresh draft copy.
Once signed, the Co-op will store a copy, and you will receive a final copy too.
The Co-op offers a mirror wills service for £245.
The lasting power of attorney service offers a single version, from £354, and a mirror version, starting at £594 for two.
The Co-op also offers a trust will service, starting at £378.
4. Proper Wills
Cost of will: £99
Updates: Not included
Lasting Power of Attorney: Not offered
Proper Wills offers a basic will writing service.
Complete the online questionnaire, and the team will turn your answers into a will that is '100% compliant with the UK law'.
Once complete, you may download or print off the final will.
The cost of a pair of wills is £129, and a legal team is on hand to contact for advice.
5. Active Wills
Cost of will: £99
Updates: Not included
Lasting Power of Attorney: Individually priced
Active Wills offers will writing and lasting power of attorney services.
Start the process by filling out an online form with your name and address and the products you would like to buy, then complete the online process.
Mirror wills cost £149 for two.
Active Wills also offers a will storage service.