A cheap Will can prove costly

May 9, 2020

Who doesn’t love a bargain? From sales to special offers, we like to feel as if we’ve got a good deal. And if our budget blender breaks, well, it’s disappointing but not a disaster.

But what about your legacy?

Sadly, cheap Wills can prove costly in the long-run. It can cause distress and financial difficulty for the very people you want to protect.

1.Legal issues

Unfortunately, Will-writing is not currently regulated. For this reason, there are many instances where instructions are included which are not legally binding and this can lead to disputes later on.

There are cases where Wills have been contested for years – leaving the assets untouchable.

In one case, a daughter claimed a cheap Will by a bank cost her ‘half her house’ because a ‘simple formality’ was neglected.

High Court disputes between family members over inheritance jumped 62 per cent in two years.

For this reason, it is important to work with Will-writers who have the experience and expertise to help ensure your final wishes are carried out.

2. Beware hidden costs

A cheap Will may save you money today, but could cost your loved ones thousands of pounds later on.

Over a million people are reported to have been sold Wills with hefty charges included in the small print of their contracts.

Some solicitors and Will-writing providers appoint themselves as the executors (the people who sort out the finances) and may charge a percentage of the estate. This may be done automatically, as set out in the terms and conditions, and will often cost thousands of pounds. You are under no obligation to appoint them as executors.

Probate reselling is another way for some providers to make money from your estate after you’re gone. The Will-writer may offer to carry out the probate (the legal and financial processes involved in dealing with the assets) but put in their small print that they ‘reserve the right to outsource it’. They are then likely to outsource it to another provider (and those inheriting have no say) and take their cut. This tends to lead to significant overpayment and deplete funds in the estate.

There may be other hidden costs, such as the annual storage or retrieval fees, which could run into the hundreds of pounds.

Always check the small print.

3. Safeguards

Choosing a Will-writing service which is part of a recognised body may offer some protection, including indemnity insurance.

This includes the Institute of Professional Willwriters (IPW), which shows a recognised level of industry awareness and knowledge and sets a code of practice.

It is also important that a Will-writing service provider assesses and records the Testator’s capacity (person making the will) to ensure the Will is valid.

4. Inheritance Tax

Effective tax planning can reduce a potential inheritance tax bill by thousands of pounds. It is unlikely a cheap Will would factor in ways to reduce this.

5. Children and dependents

Whichever route you take, we would strongly advise that you to name guardians in your Will to protect children or those who are dependent on you. Otherwise they could end up in the care of the local authority.

At Kinherit, we have a team of highly trained specialists to provide you with bespoke solutions. Certain members are also trained to cover more complex situations, such as where business or agricultural assets are involved.