Will Aid

More people use solicitors for this important piece of paperwork than they do any other serviceMore people use solicitors for this important piece of paperwork than they do any other service

Homemade, online and DIY wills are gaining popularity but more people use solicitors for this important piece of paperwork than they do any other service. Here campaign director for Will Aid Peter de Vena Franks explains why using a professional pays off.

Drawing up a will is the only way to ensure your assets are distributed according to your final wishes. But according to new statistics, 13% of people fail to prepare one for fear of the cost.

It is this which has prompted a rise in the number of people opting to write their own paperwork or use online or high street will writers. This year 38% of people who wrote a will chose to use these cheaper methods – up from 34% in 2015. The majority still choose to use a solicitor – 62%.

Don’t risk it

While an off-the-shelf will might seem attractive to those who are watching the pennies, it could be money wasted rather than saved. After all, if errors are made the document could be invalid. 

Some of the most common slipups with DIY wills relate to the execution of the document itself, such as failing to get it witnessed correctly by two independent adults at the same time – neither of whom can be a beneficiary. Other inaccuracies include misspelled names and failure to sign the document correctly. The implications of such mistakes can be serious. 

Not only do you risk leaving your family with a financial and emotional mess, but your legacy could be eaten away by legal bills or unnecessary tax.

Where there’s a will 

Recent research by Will Aid has revealed that of the people who made a will last year, 62% did so with a solicitor and 12% with a will writer. A further 9% made a homemade will, 6% a DIY kit, 5% a bank or high street service and 4% an online service. The remaining 2% used alternative methods.

Last year 66% had used a solicitor and 10% a will writer. Slightly less people had chosen to create a homemade document at 7% but more had gone to a bank or high street service at 6%. Just under 4% had used online services and just under 6% DIY kits.

Other research carried out last year by the professional negligence team at Bolt Burdon Kemp highlighted that the public were generally unaware of the rules and regulations governing will-writers and were shocked to find out that will-writers, although often reputable and reliable, can practise without proper training, regulation or insurance.

Solicitors have long campaigned for tighter regulations on the industry – and this is supported by Will Aid.

Do it through Will Aid 

Will Aid is a will-writing drive which underlines the importance of having a will drawn up by a professional. 

And this year it is urging people to get the job done with one of a number of “good solicitors” during Will Aid Month for proper peace of mind.

Will Aid only works with professional solicitors who take care about how this document is drawn up to prevent it being challenged or disregarded further down the line.

And, with the fee going to charity, it encourages people to speak to a solicitor rather than risk a botch job.

How it works

Will Aid works with law firms across the country who pledge a portion of their time to write basic wills in exchange for a donation for charity. Clients of participating firms are asked to make a voluntary donation for a basic will in place of the usual fee. 

The scheme supports nine of the UK’s best-loved charities and has raised more than £17 million since it launched more than 25 years ago, with an estimated £95 million extra in legacy pledges.

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