With a national charity recently apologising for suggesting “you don’t have to see a solicitor” to make your Will, it is worth remembering why it is so important to speak to a proper solicitor when making your Will, and not to risk reliance on “service providers”.
A solicitor is:
- trained to advise on all aspects of making a Will (and to an even higher degree if they also have the designation “TEP”);
- regulated by the professional code of conduct established by the Solicitors Regulation Authority;
- experienced in dealing with both straightforward and complex Will matters;
- insured to cover you, and your family
- just in case something goes wrong, because even solicitors are only human.
Making your Will without the help of a professionally trained solicitor can lead to mistakes being made, provisions in your Will being ambiguous, and could mean that your Will is invalid – shockingly, it can sometimes be better for this to happen than for the non-solicitor prepared Will to be valid, but not distributing your estate how you intended.
Then, to add insult to injury, there will be at best a “voluntary” code of behaviour, no insurance cover and no right to sue them (or assets to pay your family if they did sue).
Unlike many areas of law, problems with a Will generally come to light only after you die, when it is too late to correct it easily – and often too late to prove that an error was made. This makes it especially important to get it right first time.
Hauke Harrack, TEP, a solicitor in Hewitsons’ Private Client team, comments: “Here at Hewitsons all our solicitors dealing with the preparation of Wills are members of STEP, the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (designated “TEP”). As such they are required to comply with the additional STEP Code for Will Preparation in England and Wales, setting out the standards of service a client can expect from a STEP member preparing their Will. This provides our clients with further reassurance that their Wills will be prepared in the most professional manner and to the highest possible standard.”
To view the STEP Code click here. Download our Why make a Will information sheet which explains in more detail why you should make a Will. Please click here if you would like Hewitsons to provide a fee estimate for preparing your Will. See our Wills and LPA services page for more information or click here to email Hauke.