Will Writing: Solicitors vs Accountants

21/01/2016
Author: Victoria Marsh

Changes in the law have allowed accountants to provide will writing services. While many people may see this as an opportunity to open up the legal services market, it’s worth remembering that your will is one of the most important financial and personal decisions you’ll make, so it’s vital it’s done properly.

Accountants tend to charge fixed fees for writing wills and the view is that this will drive down the cost of making your will, however, most forward thinking solicitors already offer fixed fees for a range of probate services.

Will writing is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach to sorting out your estate. It’s a specialist area of the law and there are a host of different scenarios which can quickly turn into a legal minefield.

Accountants can only deal with uncontested, straight forward wills and anything that falls outside this will still need to be dealt with by a solicitor. Often, even when a will isn’t contested, the family may have beneficiaries who feel that they haven’t got what they thought they would and it’s in situations like this that a solicitor adds real value.

Rather than just providing the bare financial facts, a solicitor can take a more holistic approach, explaining how your estate will impact on your beneficiaries or, if you’re a beneficiary, how a will may affect you. They can also advise on other complex issues, such as inheritance tax, trusts planning, deeds of variation and lasting powers of attorney so that your will is legally watertight.

Finally, it’s important to make sure that your will writer is affiliated to an industry standard, such the Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme (WIQS). This proves that your legal services provider has undergone an application and assessment process to demonstrate their adoption of best practice procedures in delivering wills and probate advice.

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