What Does A Will Writer Do?
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Liz Killip tells us all about the role of a will writer.
What exactly does a will writer do?
A will writer helps you write a legally valid will to meet your circumstances and protect your family’s future. A legally valid will is how you ensure your property, money and possessions are left to people and charities you care about.
One of our will writing consultants from Will Power will make an appointment to come and see you at your home or conduct a meeting via telephone or Zoom – whichever is preferable to you. During that meeting we will talk to you about your personal circumstances including your money, your property, possessions and your children.
We then advise you on the best will for your circumstances. Whether it’s a standard will or a trust will depend on your estate and what you want to protect. We also discuss and advise on who to choose as executors and guardians if necessary.
We talk to you about who you would like to benefit and in what amounts, including specific gifts and any charitable legacies, and then help you create the will itself.
What services does a will writer offer?
Here at Will Power we mainly provide wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA). In will writing, we’ll deliver a will that reflects your wishes after your death. We then send the will in draft format for you to check. You confirm that this reflects your wishes and then we prepare a final will for signature and witnessing.
There are plenty of opportunities to talk to us about the will along the way – such as if you don’t understand the wording and the legal terminology. Perhaps you want to change your mind. Once you’ve had the appointment and seen the will, you may not remember all the details.
We can also arrange to store the will and other important documents in a safe storage facility for you.
A will writer also offers advice on LPAs, which are a form of protection when you’re still living. It’s completely different to a will because it is not effective once you’ve died.
There are two types: Property & Finance and Health & Welfare LPAs. Both enable you to identify people who you trust to take care of your affairs if you lack the capacity to make your own decisions. This could happen if you become ill or are injured.
What are the different types of wills?
- Asset protection. House prices have been soaring in recent years, yet inheritance tax thresholds have remained unchanged. So many of our property-owning clients find that their total assets exceed these thresholds, and on their death their estate can be liable for inheritance tax. Some clients are expected to use the value of their homes to pay for care fees.
Asset protection options help mitigate these effects and protect your assets. This is something that the consultant would go through in detail with you once they’ve found out what your estate is worth.
- Trust wills. By creating a Trust within the will you can protect property and assets that you wish to pass on after your death. Various trusts are available, such as life interest trusts, discretionary trusts, children’s trusts and vulnerable adults’ trusts.
You literally create the trust for the will and appoint people to manage it, called trustees. They can be the same person as the executors, or appointed separately.
What is Estate Administration?
This is basically the process of handling a person’s legal and tax affairs after they’ve died.
An executor can administer the estate or they can also instruct a professional to do so.
Probate could be required but it depends on the size and complexity of the estate. This is generally referred to as applying for a grant of probate or, if there isn’t a will, a letter of administration in England and Wales.
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What are the costs for will writing?
Unlike solicitors, who charge by the hour, our help with your will and LPAs is initially free of charge. You only actually pay when you agree for us to prepare your legal documents. You can avoid the many pitfalls of doing an online or do-it-yourself will, as we have years of experience as will writers. We’re here to make sure your will reflects your wishes and is legally valid.
When should I see a will writer?
A lot of people don’t think they need a will. They assume all their assets will go to their partner, not realising that in reality, that probably isn’t the case.
You might be scared to make a will or think it’s too complicated, or just put it off to another day. But we suggest people make a will when buying a property, having children, getting married or doing a civil partnership. Then you avoid dying intestate, which means without a will.
In your will, you can specify who would look after your children should something happen. People don’t often think about that. If you haven’t actually specified who would be their guardian your children could be put into temporary care.
Divorce doesn’t mean that your will would be invalid, but it would have a different effect so you should make another will as soon as possible. Marriage automatically revokes any previous will, and when people remarry they generally need to change their wills. With blended families particularly, it can be important to ensure your children’s inheritance is protected.
Having grandchildren can also trigger a will revision, as you might want to make specific provision for them. Additionally, if a spouse or a partner sadly passes away, your own will may no longer be valid or appropriate.
We suggest that people review their wills at least every five years to check there are no changes in circumstances to consider, or new legislation, or that property prices have pushed you over a tax threshold.
What would happen if I called you today?
You’re making a very sensible decision by calling us today. First, the people in the office would take a few details and make a no-obligation appointment with one of our consultants. It could be at home, depending on where you live, by Zoom or by telephone.
We would meet you and discuss and advise on your personal circumstances and what would be the best thing for you. Whether it’s a standard will or a trust will, once you agree for us to proceed we then draft your will according to these instructions.
We send you a draft by email or post to look at, make amendments or approve. You can ring us up and discuss it for clarification if need be. It needs to be written in legal language to make it watertight, which can make it a little harder to understand.
Once you approve the draft, you’ve asked any questions or made amendments, we then send you a final, bound copy for signature and witnessing. We send thorough instructions on how to do this, or you can come to the office and sign the wills here under our supervision.
If you choose our Aftercare Service we can store your will in our safe storage facilities and send you a copy. We’ll write to the executors telling them what to do in the event of death. We don’t actually send them the will – that’s up to the person who’s made the will to do, if they wish. We’ll then call you in five years time to see if you’d like a will review.
For LPAs the process is similar, but they don’t get drafted. We send you out the documents to sign and are always here to talk to you about any questions you have. It is a daunting subject, but once you’ve done it you have a lot more peace of mind.
What is the normal fee for a will writer? Does it cost for an initial consultation with you?
There’s no charge for the initial stages, even when people talk a lot over the phone before we actually make an appointment. I’ll chat to them about their circumstances and once they decide to go ahead there’s no charge for the Initial consultation meeting. We offer advice, then you can go away and think about it or decide on the day.
A standard will for a single person is £120 and for a married couple or civil partners it is £160 pounds plus VAT. We’re very transparent about our pricing and our price list on our website if you wanted to look.
Why is it a good idea to work with Will Power?
Will Power has been established since 1992, so we’ve been around for 30 years. We are a member of the Institute of Professional Will Writers which regulates this industry. We’ve got a friendly, helpful team in the office who are always available to chat on the phone about anything.