In November 2015, IRN research published a survey (priced at £120 funnily enough) of 60 ‘will-writers’, varying from large solicitors firms to online tick-box services, which found the average price of a standard will fell to £83 in 2015, with the average price from lawyers at £118.
Prices are being forced down by new names using more fixed price deals, and the availability of online services from £20.
'The will-writing market is fragmented with many small players, including some unregulated ones’, says IRN. There are at least 40 purely online services, whose prices are generally much lower. However, the report findings are based on quoted fixed price rates and 'more complicated wills can be much more expensive and the pricing survey takes no account of the quality of the wills provided'.
I added the emphasis there because it is important. Is it so shocking that sitting with an experienced, well trained professional is more expensive than filling in a form on a website? That getting a product you can rely on costs more? That there is a price to pay for knowing your Will has been prepared in full knowledge of your circumstances, what you want and how it should be done and that you or your family have the right to go back and complain in the (hopefully rare) circumstances where mistakes were made?
Clients who come to see me about a Will don’t always get what they expect. Some clients don’t need a Will and I am honest enough to say so. Do you think speedywills.com would give you your £20 back if it decided you didn’t really need it? And would it go on to ask the right questions to see what you do need? The numbers of wills written seems to be fairly constant at about 1.2 million to 1.5 million, but the number of people aged over 60 is increasing. It is essential that you get this part of your planning right when you are considering your retirement and who gets what if you die. And what about Powers of Attorney and protecting your assets from those that would rather spend it for you whilst you are still alive?
The report also said 'pressure is also coming from consumers with probate where more and more individuals undertake estate administration without turning to a professional’.
In 2014, over 1/3rd of Grants of Representation were issued to individuals with no professional help. And good on them. Getting a Grant is not rocket science in many cases and you can save yourself legal fees if you go DIY. But it is not always easy to deal with someone’s estate. If you have others breathing down your neck, you may wish you had left it to someone else to sort, even if it does cost a bit more. The bits we do quickly, calmly and efficiently are worth paying for.
Come to see us and we will show you plenty of Good Will. The first meeting is free.