How Do I Write a Will?

Having a will in place can make things a lot more straightforward for your next of kin in the event of your death, while ensuring your wishes are followed. There are several ways of getting a will written: using a solicitor, using a will-writing service or doing it yourself.

It’s important that you meet certain criteria in order for your will to be valid. Before you start, make your you’re familiar with the rules – especially if you’re planning to write your own will.

Using a Solicitor

This is the most costly option, but it does give you the peace of mind of knowing that it’s been done correctly and covers everything you want it to. If your estate is over the threshold for Inheritance Tax (£325,000 in the 2019–20 tax year), if you have a complex family situation (e.g. estranged children or former partners), or if you want to protect someone’s interests after you’ve passed away (e.g. a disabled family member) then a solicitor is your best option for making sure your complex affairs are handled in accordance with your wishes and within the parameters of the law.

What Will it Cost?

For a single will to be drawn up by a solicitor you’re usually looking at somewhere between £140 and £240.

A joint will usually costs somewhere between £150 and £300.

For very complex affairs, such as those that involve trusts, the cost can increase up to around £500.

Always seek a quotation from the solicitor before you start and ensure that the cost they quote you covers all fees and VAT.

Using a Will-Writing Service

This option sits between using a solicitor and doing it yourself – less expensive than the former and more reliable than the latter. Advice is available with a will-writing service, but remember that the writer won’t necessarily be legally qualified and will writers aren’t regulated in the same way as solicitors are. How much support is on offer varies between different service providers and how much you pay for the service.

It’s important to choose a will writer who is accredited and a member of The Society of Will Writers or The Institute of Professional Will Writers. This ensures the will writer has regular training, is insured and follows a code of practice approved by the Trading Standards Institute.

Will-writing services can operate on a face-to-face basis, online or by post. 

What Will it Cost?

The starting price for a will-writing service is usually around £75.

Extras such as storing your will are payable as add-on services.

As with a solicitor, always get a full quotation before you begin and make sure the service covers everything you need.

Writing Your Own Will

This is by far the cheapest way to write a will, but you will need to be comfortable you can tick off all the boxes to ensure your finished will is valid. However, if your affairs and wishes are very simple it can be done.

Templates for writing your own will can be bought online or in stationery shops. This template should include standardised sections and tried-and tested legal wording. It’s imperative to follow this to make sure there is no ambiguity or confusion that may arise from the way your will is worded.

The template should also guide you through what you need to do to ensure any old wills are revoked and your new will is signed, dated and witnessed correctly.

What Will it Cost?

A basic template can be bought for as little as £10, with more comprehensive ones being available for around £30.