If you want to make a Will or take out a Power of Attorney, it would be our advice always to use a Solicitor. Well, we would say that, wouldn’t we?! But, let us explain the reasons why and you might end up agreeing with us.
We’ll also talk about the alternatives to using a Solicitor and why you should think carefully before doing your Will and Power of Attorney yourself, either online or with a Will-Writing pack, or using a Will-Writing company.
Do I need to use a Solicitor for a Will and Power of Attorney?
No, you don’t, but you should do.
Let’s start with why you should use a Solicitor to make your Will and Power of Attorney. The main reason is because we’re Solicitors. This may sound obvious, but this gives you certain guarantees, assurances and peace of mind that you can’t get online or from a pack or from a Will-Writing company.
- Are fully regulated by the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority (SRA) which means we are bound by a strict set of professional rules and guidelines intended to protect you at all times
- Hold full professional insurance which covers you if something should go wrong
- Are bound by professional ethics which means we must always act in your best interests and everything you discuss with us is 100% confidential
- Are fully-trained and we have to ensure that our training and knowledge is constantly being updated
- Are experienced in identifying other areas for which you may need assistance e.g. Funeral Plans, financial advice, family law, employment help, so you receive an all-round service
- Providing Wills and Powers of Attorney are specialists in this complex area of law and can provide you with full advice that is specific to you.
Using a Solicitor gives you the peace of mind and the guarantee that you are fully protected at all times, that you receive the best advice from a specialist, expert, trained professional and that your Will and Power of Attorney will protect you and your family in the future.
On the other hand, a DIY Online Will, a Will-Writing Pack or a Will-Writing Company cannot offer you any of the same protections and guarantees. In fact, it’s the opposite – if you don’t use a Solicitor, your Will and Power of Attorney may not be valid or it may not do what you want it to do, but you will have no way of knowing this until the documents are needed. By then, of course, it’s too late.
So, while you think you’ve put a plan in place for you and your family, you may have left them unprotected and uncertain of your wishes.
Can I do my Will or Power of Attorney myself?
Yes, you can, but you shouldn’t.
People have made some assumptions about Wills and Powers of Attorney which makes them think they can do them themselves, but these assumptions are generally not right:
Making a Will and Power of Attorney is easy and straightforward
Unfortunately, this isn’t true. What is true is that they are very easy to get wrong.
It’s definitely true that you don’t know what you don’t know. So, while you’re completing your online questionnaire or telling the person from the Will-Writing company what you want, you won’t know if there’s a better way of doing what you’re asking, that there are likely to be other things you need to consider, that what you’re asking can’t be done etc. If you aren’t advised fully and correctly about your options and what can be done, it is likely your Will and Power of Attorney won’t do what you want it to do.
You also won’t know that there are strict rules with how to set out, sign and witness a Will and Power of Attorney – if any of these rules aren’t followed, the Will and Power of Attorney might not be valid.
If you’ve done the whole process yourself or with a Will-Writing company and still think the process is easy and straightforward, you’ve probably not got it right. (You might need a Solicitor to have a look at it for you and provide some advice or start again.)
Using a Solicitor will be too expensive
There are various prices for Wills and Powers of Attorney provided by Solicitors in the region of £150.00 to £300.00, although some can be more expensive. If this seems expensive, remember you are paying for the protections and guarantees that are listed above, the experience and expertise of the Solicitor, the all-round care and full advice, the peace of mind, the professional help etc
We’ve all seen the adverts online for Wills for £19.99. If this seems too good to be true, that’s because it is. The online Will for this low price will likely have terms that you will have to pay for regular reviews, pay for storage of the Will etc. These generally come included within the Solicitor’s fees and this is certainly true at Leech & Co.
The online Will also offers you no protection or guarantees at all. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong and your family will only find that out when it’s too late to do anything about it. The online, cheap Wills are a false economy and you are likely, in the long-run, to end up paying a lot more for a lot less than if you had used a Solicitor.
Using a Solicitor for a Will and Power of Attorney might seem expensive at the time, but what you are getting is definitely value of money that may save you a lot of money, and save your family a lot of upset and stress, in the long run.
Doing my Will and Power of Attorney myself will be quicker and less hassle
It’s true that if you sit down at your computer and fill in a questionnaire, your Will and Power of Attorney can be produced quickly and the whole process will be fairly hassle-free. However, for the reasons talked about above, it’s likely the document you have in your hands won’t be worth the paper it’s written on and may cause long-term problems and issues for you and your family. Again, the time and hassle saving you have made is probably a false economy. In the long-run, it would have been better to spend a little more time and let a Solicitor deal with all the hassle for you.
A good Solicitor will minimise the time and effort and hassle for you throughout the whole process. With a Solicitor, it really will be easier than you think. The Solicitor does the hard work so you don’t have to.
For example, at Leech & Co, we will always visit you at your home (unless we are unable to due to reasons outside of our control, for example the Coronavirus) at a time that is convenient for you so you don’t have to come to us. We also offer fixed fees so you know the price you will be paying before we start working for you.
What you also need to consider with all of the points mentioned above is what would happen if things go wrong with your Will and Power of Attorney – the process then will not be easy or cheap or hassle-free. See below for full details!
I’m not using a Solicitor to do my Will and Power of Attorney – what could possibly go wrong?
Without the guarantees, protections and assurances of using a Solicitor, including full insurance cover, quite a lot can go wrong.
If your Will does not do what you want it to do, by the time this has been discovered, you can’t do anything about it. Your property, assets or valuable items will be distributed in accordance with the Will and your family will be left to work out and sort out what happens with your funeral, any items not included with the Will etc. If a member of your family does not agree with the content of your Will and believe it does not carry out your wishes, they will have to take legal action to try and correct it.
If your Will is found not to be valid, again, you won’t be able to do anything about it. Your estate i.e. your property, assets, valuable items etc will be distributed in accordance with the rules of Intestacy. These are unlikely to carry out your wishes and/or they are unlikely to be the best way to deal with your estate.
If your Power of Attorney is not correct, invalid or not registered correctly or in time, your family will have no choice, but to apply to the Court of Protection for assistance in dealing with your property, finances, health and welfare. This is a lengthy, complex and expensive process.
The aim of having a Will and Power of Attorney in place is to make sure your wishes are carried out, you are looked after and your family is saved the upset, stress and expense of dealing with matters without any assistance from you or the protections these documents provide. However, if anything goes wrong with your Will or Power of Attorney, this is precisely what will happen.
It is simply not a risk worth taking, for you or your family. Using a Solicitor to make your Will and Power of Attorney removes that risk and gives you the peace of mind that things won’t go wrong. Even if something does go wrong, for whatever reason, you and your family will be fully insured.
You’re a Solicitor, so you would recommend using a Solicitor, wouldn’t you?
Well, yes, but that’s because we genuinely believe it’s best for you and your family, for all of the reasons discussed above. However, if you don’t believe us, Martin Lewis, the Money Saving Expert, talks about the same things we have and makes the same recommendation in his article here
I want to make a Will and Power of Attorney – what should I do now?
We hope we have persuaded you that to use a Solicitor to make your Will and Power of Attorney makes sense and is the best way to do it, for both you and your family. We have included some articles below about making a Will, Power of Attorney and Funeral Plan so that you can read a bit more about it all if you want to.
However, if you would like a free, initial chat with one of our friendly team about making your Will and Power of Attorney and how we can help you, call us on 0161 749 9000 / 07572 373 813 or e-mail us at [email protected] and request a call back.