Welcome to our most frequently asked questions page. This is where you will find the answers to the questions we get asked the most. You may have a different question, that has not yet been answered. If so, you can send it to us by simply completing the form at the bottom of the page.
“How much does it cost to write a will?”
This is by far the most common question we are asked – but it is the most difficult to answer. The cost of writing your will is dependent on the level of protection that you require and what your aims and objectives are. No family is the same and therefore no will or estate plan is the same either. Once we meet with you to find out more about you and what your requirements are, we are able to provide with our recommendations which include a full breakdown of all costs.
“Do you store my will?”
We can offer secure storage for your will, or you can choose to store it yourself. If you choose to store it yourself, we recommend that you have somewhere that is safe and secure, where it can not be damaged by fire or flood. You will also need to make sure that people know exactly where to find it when the time comes. You can find out more about our secure storage options here.
“Do you write yourselves in my will?”
The simple answer to this is no! We do not write ourselves into your will, and there is no fine print. We will never be listed as a beneficiary in your will!
“Are you regulated and what does it mean?”
Some types of activities, referred to as “reserved legal activities” may only be carried out by regulated legal professionals. This includes people like lawyers, solicitors and barristers. Because of this they come under the regulatory control of the Legal Services Board (LSB). Any legal activities that are do not fall under this category can be delivered by people who are not regulated. This also means that they may not have any legal qualification. However, all legal professionals are still regulated by their professional body even when they are carrying out activities which are not in the list of “reserved legal activities.”
“Is will writing a “reserved legal activity?”
In May 2013, the LSB made a recommendation that will writing should be made a reserved legal activity. However, the Lord Chancellor decided not to accept this recommendation. This was reviewed again in May 2014, and the Government confirmed that there was no intention to regulate the will writing industry at this time.
On 17 October 2005 the Labour Government concluded that there was insufficient evidence that statutory regulation was necessary. Instead they favoured self-regulation, which includes codes of conduct, and education schemes. Technically, this means that anyone can write a will, without having legal qualifications. This is how it is possible that you can write one for yourself. However, legal professionals, such as solicitors, would still be regulated due to their professional rules.
As the profession is not regulated, it does mean that anyone could call themselves a will writer without any form of training. This can cause a risk to consumers, as choosing someone without any training and specialised knowledge could lead to wills that are incorrect or invalid. But that does not mean that this is true of all will writers. There are two professional bodies for will writers, which are The Society of Will Writers (SWW) and The Institute of Professional WillWriters (IPW).
Both the IPW and the SWW have strict codes of practice that their will writers must adhere to in order to gain membership. Choosing a member of one of these organisations is recommended to ensure that you have added protection.
Wellingborough Wills have full membership with the SWW. This means that we adhere to their strict codes of practice and carry full professional indemnity insurance for any documents that we produce.
“Who are The Society of Will Writers?”
Established in 1994, the SWW is an “independent body representing the professional will writer and the interests of the consumer.” Today it is the largest trade body within the profession, with members all over the world. They say “Our Code of Practice, ethics and philosophy puts the consumer at the heart of our aims to ensure that through our membership you receive the very best of service.”
Any will writer can choose to become members of the SWW. However, they state “We don’t just accept anyone. We ensure that the professional applying for membership has professional indemnity insurance, will adhere to our Code of Practice and continues to develop their knowledge on a regular basis.” It is the responsibility of the SWW to ensure that those who apply are “safe to do business with.”
The SWW keeps full records of all of their members, even if they cease trading. This means that they will be able to provide information about where any of the documents that they produced may be stored. They will also know what needs to be done if any amendments need to be made.
SWW members, like ourselves, also have support and knowledge from their technical advisers. This ensures that we are kept up to date with the implications of forthcoming legislation – for example changes to the nil rate band. This also means that any advice that we give is up to date and in line with current legislation. This may not be the case if you choose to use a member that is not part of a regulatory organisation.
“Should I use a Solicitor to write my will?”
You can choose a solicitor or a will writing company to help you to write your will. You can even do it yourself, by getting a will kit from places like WH Smiths. The risk with doing it yourself, is that you don’t get any advice. You are also at risk from it being invalid, if it is not signed and witnessed correctly. An additional risk, is that your self-made Will is considered valid, but it is misunderstood as it has not been written clearly enough. This could mean that your wishes are not met and the wrong thing happens!
Make sure if you choose a will writing company, like ourselves, that they have membership with the SWW or the IPWW, for added protection.
There are additional benefits of choosing a member of the SWW as your will writer, some of which are outlined below:
- We continue to train on a yearly basis doing a minimum of 24 hours.
- We hold professional indemnity insurance with a minimal level cover of £2 million.
- We adhere to their code of practice and complaints procedure.
- We were only admitted after a stringent and robust application process.
- We are entitled to technical support to ensure that offer the best service to our clients.
- We offer a statutory cooling off period of 14 days in accordance with the Consumer Contract Regulations
As a full member of the SWW, you can expect to receive a high quality service with all the benefits that being a Society member brings.
“How do I know you are a trustworthy company?”
As Wellingborough Wills are members of the SWW, we adhere to the 10 principles that they set out. These state what all consumers can expect from their members. These are as follows:
- A Member must act with integrity
- A Member must conduct his or her business with due skill, care and diligence
- A Member must observe proper standards when marketing his or her business to the general public
- A Member must pay due regard to the interests of his or her client and treat them fairly
- A Member must communicate information to his or her client in a way that is clear fair and not misleading
- A Member must not create a conflict of interest between himself and his or her client
- A Member must take reasonable care to ensure the suitability of any advice given to his or her client
- A Member must ensure that any assets that he or she holds on behalf of a client are fully protected
- A Member must practice equality and respect diversity
- A Member must comply with all legal and regulatory requirements including full observance of the Society of Will Writers Code of Practice
When you choose Wellingborough Wills as your estate planners, you can expect us to comply with all of the above.
(The principles are expanded further in the Code of Practice, that you can read here.)