When obtaining and paying for legal documents, it can seem to many as an unnecessary expense, and with the advent of online ‘quick Wills’ and standard pre-printed packs that can be bought from high street stores like WHSmiths, many people question why they should go to the expense of instructing a Solicitor.
Many online Will services offer the convenience of home visits and draw people in with headlines claiming Wills at ‘rock bottom’ prices. It is therefore not surprising that over the past few years these services have become a lot more popular.
However, in line with their increased popularity, there has been a massive increase in people who are dissatisfied with the service they receive and ultimately, when they come to rely upon the documentation, they find that it does not necessarily provide for what they require.
"We have had a number of Clients in our offices
who have fallen foul of these unregulated services"
Unfortunately, over the past few months, we have had a number of Clients in our offices who have fallen foul of these unregulated services. Many people genuinely do not appreciate that in most cases their Wills might be written by a Will writer who is not in fact a Solicitor and has no legal qualifications at all. The advice that they can therefore give will be limited, and one would question on those circumstances, whether they are able to provide their Clients with independent measured advice.
I have seen many cases situations where Clients suddenly find that they have inadvertently appointed the Will writing service as their Executors, been talked into setting up Family Trusts and appointed these Will writing companies as Trustees, and where they have been charged for the storage and return of their documents. In some cases, the company has even disappeared, along with their original Wills.
"Clients end up paying substantially more than they would
have been charged if they’d have instructed a
Solicitor in the first instance"
It is also very common for Will writing services to be offered at ‘bargain basement prices’ but once the Client instructs the firm, suddenly the Wills become more complex and, in a lot of cases, Clients end up paying substantially more than they would have been charged if they’d have instructed a Solicitor in the first instance.
We appreciate that over the years Solicitors have received bad press. Many people think that all of us are ‘in it for the money’ and many may dismiss this article as sour grapes from a Solicitor who has been provided with healthy competition by Will writing services but that could not be further from the truth. Having being faced with, on a number of occasions recently, relatives who have attended at my office in a panic and where we have tried to unravel and resolve the issues caused by unregulated Will writing services, my advice comes from a place of genuine concern and caution.
Solicitors are very heavily regulated. In most high street practices you will deal with an individual Solicitor personally and that Solicitor will in most cases have a significant number of years’ experience. In my case, I have been qualified for 28 years.
A Solicitor will be able to provide you with independent advice based on your requirements and produce the documentation in accordance with your instructions. If, on the very rare occasion your Will does not comply with your instructions, there is a highly regulated process which will resolve any issues that either yourself or your relatives may have. Solicitors who work in the area of Will writing, Powers of Attorney, Trusts and Probate have been classed by the Government as an ‘essential service’ and have provided Clients with home visits as and when required to ensure that you have the right protection in place throughout this Covid-19 pandemic.
"There are strict rules relating to the succession of
practices and therefore your Will would never just disappear"
Furthermore, there is no chance that we will disappear. There are strict rules relating to the succession of practices and therefore your Will would never just disappear. Our firm does not charge for the storage of your Wills and you are a provided with certified copies for your personal safe keeping.
It may seem at the outset that the Will writing services are a means by which to save money, however, it should be seen in respect of the long-term implications of the huge costs which will be incurred for rectifying any errors. The costs would be far more to put these issues right than it would be to instruct a Solicitor in the first instance.
If you want to discuss either making a Will or updating an existing Will then please call us at any of our offices and we will be very happy to help.
Call our Wakefield office on 01924 290 029
Call our Garforth office on 0113 246 4423
Call our Ossett office on 01924 586 466