A few words on “Free” Wills

Sometimes “Free” Wills are offered as a lure to sell other products and services.  The saying “There’s no such thing as free” is usually well founded when it comes to Wills.

A Will is the very last opportunity you have to support your loved ones.  If it isn’t written properly, it may not act as you intend or could be invalid.

Will writing is not regulated and not all Will Writers or companies offering “free Wills” have your interests at heart.  To protect our customers I ONLY recommend solicitors or Will Writers whom first qualified as solicitors, and we NEVER make money from the introduction.  We simply want our customers to have the peace of mind their Will has been properly written and would act as they wish.

Some problems associated with Will Writers and free Wills:

  • Wills and Will Writing aren’t regulated by the Financial Services Authority(FCA).
  • It can take as little as 3 days to “qualify” as a Will Writer – complete with certificate and designatory letters.
  • A common practice is for the Will Writer to add themselves as an Executor and upon your death charge a percentage of your estate as a fee (we have seen up to 5%).  So, if for example, you have £100,000 Life Insurance and a house worth £250,000, the “free” Will could cost those you love £17,500 of their inheritance.
  • If the firm ceases trading your Will could be lost.
  • The Will may be “Free” but there can be huge fees for associated services which are often sold under considerable pressure (their staffing costs and business expenses have to be paid somehow).  These services may include Will Storage and/or Lasting Powers of Attorney(LPA’s) at inflated prices.
  • If not written and witnessed properly, the Will could be invalid.
  •  Large firms may have dozens of Will writing staff, “supervised” by a couple of Solicitors.  This is not the same as dealing with a solicitor directly.

Food for thought…
The beauty of free Wills to those offering them is… you can’t complain when you’re dead.  But, your loved ones may pay the price.

 

One possible exception…

You may wish to consider a free Will if you support a particular charity:

Often, charities join forces with solicitors whom generously offer free (usually basic) Wills to their supporters.  In return, the charity hopes you will leave a “legacy” (money) in your Will.  If your circumstances are straightforward,  it may be worth asking the charity if they have such an arrangement.  IMPORTANT:  Check the service is provided by Solicitors or that you will be dealing with someone whom qualified as a solicitor.


In summary, we always recommend legal advice is taken from someone qualified as a solicitor that specialises in Will’s, Trusts and Probate.  The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate tax and trust planning.