How much does a will cost?

How much does a will cost

This page was last updated on 1 November 2020

How much does a will cost

The majority of people in the UK do not have a will. Making a will is one of the most important things you can do to protect your wishes after you pass away.

This guide will go through the will-making options available, and how the costs can vary.

Topics that you will find covered on this page

What is a will?

A will is a legal document where you set out what you want to happen to your money, your home, and your assets.

This is an important aspect of estate planning, and can also help make sure that you do not pay more inheritance tax than is necessary.

Why should I write a will?

A will is your opportunity to set out who you want to leave property to, and how much. This will give you peace of mind that your family members and loved ones will be looked after.

How is a will used after I die?

Afer you die, the process of your executors managing your estate is called probate. During probate, the executor will distribute the money and things in your estate to the group of beneficiaries.

What happens if I do not have a will?

If you die without a will, the law will determine who will get what. This is called intestacy rules.

Here is a short video that explains the benefits of having a Will.

How much does it cost to create a will?

The cost of making a will is generally between £150 and £750 though this varies depending on the complexity of your estate. This will vary based on your estate and whether you deal with your will yourself or use legal advice.

How to write a will in the UK

You can write a will with the help of a solicitor, a will writing service, or you can make a will online using a template.

Do I need a lawyer to make a will?

You can make a will on your own, however, you should get legal advice if your will is not simple. Further, you will need to get your will formally witnessed and signed for it to be legally valid.

How much does setting up my own will normally cost?

You can get a wills template or DIY will writing service. This can be as inexpensive as £30, however, you will bear the cost of storing the will yourself.

Are DIY wills legally binding?

DIY wills are legitimate as long as they are signed, and there are two adult independent witnesses.

It is also important to read about what details must go into your will, as the incorrect wording can mean your will is not binding. This is why it is often a good idea to choose to use legal services.

What are the disadvantages of making a will on your own?

While it is clearly cheaper to make a will on your own, there are several things to consider before you choose not to get advice from legal services, such as:

  • If there are errors, which without advice there is more likely to be, then you are not protected by being able to complain to the solicitor firm or the legal ombudsman
  • If you use a will template, they will not take responsibility for the will being correct. Errors can be highly problematic for your executor and family during probate, and end up costing your estate more money to deal with.
  • You may find it difficult to store the will, as if you keep it at home there is a risk from damage.

Is it possible to make a will on the internet?

Many services will help you with making a will online cheaply. However, before you do this, you need to think about the risks, as while you will save money at the start by doing this, a will is an important legal document and can be difficult to change.

What needs to go in a will?

If you are writing out a will, you need to make sure you include the following things:

  • Who the beneficiaries of your estate will be, i.e. who you are leaving what to
  • What happens if the beneficiaries die before you do
  • Who the executors of your estate will be, i.e. the people you manage your estate. An executor can be a family member or a close friend.
  • Who will look after children who are under 18

What are the advantages of using a solicitor to make a will?

The benefits of using solicitors include:

  • The solicitor will know how to navigate the law and rules, including the complicated laws on inheritance tax. This means you can make informed choices and avoid paying unnecessary tax.
  • It is less likely there will be mistakes in your will. Not using the right witnesses or forgetting to sign a will can lead to the will not being valid. This will cause stress to your loved ones after you die.
  • Solicitors have to follow professional standards and are authorised and registered with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). This means you are protected if something goes wrong because you can first complain to the solicitor’s firm, then you can complain to the legal ombudsman.
  • The risk of losing your will is lower, and generally, the solicitor will store the original will for you for free.

What will a solicitor do?

Your solicitor can give you help and advice to make sure your wishes are reflected in your will. They can help you make important decisions and check your will for errors or unclearness.

"Your solicitor can give you help and advice to make sure your wishes are reflected in your will. They can help you make important decisions and check your will for errors or unclearness."

When should I get help from a solicitor with writing my will?

You should get legal advice if your estate is at all complex. This includes where:

  • You own a business
  • You will have to pay inheritance tax, where your individual estate is worth more than £325,000
  • One of your beneficiaries requires care
  • Your will may be contested, for example, if you have left any family members out of your will
  • You live outside of the UK or have property outside of the UK
  • You jointly own property with someone other than a spouse or civil partner

How much does it cost to make a will with a solicitor?

The cost of writing a will with help from a solicitor is inevitably more, however, getting legal advice is still advised because a will is one of the most important documents your will write. Prices will depend on how complicated your will is.

How much does using legal services for a simple will cost?

A simple will is where the people the money will go to is straightforward and the assets are not complex or have intricate ownership arrangements.  You could expect the price to be somewhere between £144 and £240 including VAT.

writing of wills

How much does using legal services for a complex will cost?

The cost of making a will like where you have been divorced and have children from the previous marriage will be higher. You can expect the price to be between £150 and £300 including VAT.

How much do legal services for a specialist will cost?

A specialist will includes situations like where there is overseas property involved, or you are setting up a trust in your will. As a guide, the minimum price for this will start at £500 including VAT.

Can I make the solicitors who made my will my executors?

A solicitor can act as a professional executor when it comes to managing your estate after your death. The solicitor will charge either a percentage of your estate to act as an executor or for their time. They will take this fee out of your estate after you pass away. 

How can I save money when I make a will?

There are things you can do to reduce how much money you spend on will writing, like:

  • For a simple will, make the will yourself online
  • Get you solicitor to do multiple things at once, including estate planning, setting up an LPA, and your will
  • Search online for different quotes, as some solicitor services will be significantly cheaper than others
  • Call for free initial consultations
  • Use mirror wills with your partner
  • Closely read the details on what things are included in the service to avoid later additional costs
  • Make sure the solicitor fee includes VAT
  • Think about what you want to leave to who before you see a solicitor, so you do not waste time in the meeting

 

How much does it cost to make a will and power of attorney?

It costs £82 in England and Wales to get a lasting power of attorney registered, so it costs £164 for both powers.

If you get a will and power of attorney at the same time with the same solicitors you are likely to get a discount.

Therefore the total cost is likely to be between £400 and £600. You should call multiple solicitors so you can choose the one that will give you the best deal.

How can I find a solicitor to write my will?

You can use the law society directories. These are :

Can I get a solicitor through a charity?

Charities sometimes offer a free will writing service, though this may be in return for a donation. Available services include Free Wills Month (Only in England and Wales) the charity Will Aid, The Stroke Association, and Cancer research. Certain trade unions also have free writing of wills.

Are there other options if I do not want to use a solicitor?

Another option is paying for a will writing service. A will writing service is likely to be cheaper than a solicitor and more likely to protect you than doing you will fully by yourself. This can be done online or you can make an appointment.

What are the advantages of a will writing service?

There are advantages to using a wills writing service, including:

  • Generally cheaper than a solicitor
  • More reliable than making a will yourself
  • They can visit you at your home when it is convenient

What are the disadvantages of a will writing service?

There are several reasons people do not use will writing services, such as:

  • You may not have the same protection as if you used a solicitor, as they are not generally regulated
  • They are unlikely to be legally qualified so cannot give you the same level of legal advice
  • They are unlikely to be able to store your will for you

What should I think about before using a will writing service?

As these services are not regulated in the same way as solicitors, you need to do your research to make sure you are protected. Things to look out for include:

Can the bank write my will?

Many banks have a will writing service, which may be £100 or free. However, you should make sure you read the small print, as the bank may take a high percentage of your estate during probate or there may be high hidden costs.

What are mirror wills?

A mirror will is where you make a will that is virtually identical to another person. This is most common where one person leaves their estate to their partner when they pass away. This means that when one partner dies, the other gets their home and property, then on their death, the assets are all passed onto their children.

What are the benefits of using a mirror will?

The main benefit for couples is that you can leave all your assets to the other person. This is especially important if you are not married, as your partner may not otherwise get to inherit the home you live in. You can also provide for your children and family after your partner dies. You get more executors for probate when you have mirror wills.

What are the issues with using a mirror will?

You have to be cautious when making a mirror will with someone, as they can change their will after it is signed without telling you. Also, if your partner gets married again after your death, or has more children, they can change their will, so all of your assets are left to new children or to if they get married to someone else, to them.

How much does a mirror will cost?

Making a will with a partner is normally more expensive than making an individual will. While the cost will depend on the complexity of the estate, you are likely to pay somewhere between £250 and £700. Before you do this, you should call for free initial legal advice. 

Article author

Katy Davies

I am a keen reader and writer and have been helping to write and produce the legal content for the site since the launch.   I studied for a law degree at Manchester University and I use that theoretical experience, as well as my practical experience as a solicitor, to help produce legal content which I hope you find helpful.

Outside of work, I love the snow and am a keen snowboarder.  Most winters you will see me trying to get away for long weekends to the slopes in Switzerland or France.

Email – katy@helpandadvice.co.uk

LinkedIn – Connect with me

More Information On Writing Wills

What Are Will Writing Services?

Making a will is an important way to ensure your wishes are carried out after your death, and your children and loved ones inherit what you want them to.

Finding Will Writing Solicitors

Solicitors can help you draft your will so that it saves you money in inheritance tax and so the people you want to inherit your assets do so.

How Much Does A Will Cost?

The majority of people in the UK do not have a will. Making a will is one of the most important things you can do to protect your wishes after you pass away.

How To Avoid Inheritance Tax

Inheritance tax is a tax that is paid to the government on an estate after a person dies. However, you can legally reduce what you pay.

What Are Online Wills

An online will is quite simply whenever you make your will through a website. The type of services you get can vary, from a digital tool to draft your will, to an expert who reviews your will.

Getting Your Estate In Order

Estate planning involves considering what to do with a person’s money and assets after they are deceased.

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