Will writing service

A Will gives you control over your estate after you die and gives you options over who benefits.

Martin Shepherd can offer an in person will writing service in Potters Bar, Hertford Barnet, Finchley and Hartfield from our local offices. Alternatively we can support your will writing need online or by telephone.

Will writing service

Why write a will?

Many people think a Will is too expensive and “anyway everything I own will go automatically to my spouse or my children”.  This is a common misconception.

A well written Will is the tool that allows you to pass on your possessions to benefit others and can also help you save inheritance tax, so it is wise to employ a will writing service.

The only certain way to ensure that your spouse, partner, friend or relative, inherit what you want them to is by making a Will. If you die without having made a Will, the intestacy rules apply in an arbitrary manner. This may result in your spouse having to share your estate and not having enough to live on.

At present the intestacy rules do not recognise co-habitees. Therefore, if you live with your partner and die without having made a Will, your partner will not automatically inherit any of your estate. The estate will automatically pass to your surviving family (i.e. children, parents, brothers and sisters) and your partner will have to make a claim on the estate claiming financial dependence, if appropriate.

If you have children with your partner they will automatically inherit the estate and both your partner and your children may have to get separate legal representation in order to claim a share in the estate. This is expensive as the legal fees incurred will reduce the value of the estate and is a situation which could be avoided by the making of a simple Will. 

Some Practicalities when making a Will

You must appoint executors to deal with your estate after your death and Trustees to hold property in trust, for example while a beneficiary is under 18 years of age. These executors and Trustees have a very important role to play and should be either business-minded family or friends and/or professional advisors.

You can provide for specific funeral arrangements or give instructions concerning your body such as donating it to medical research. 

You can safeguard your young children’s interests (i.e. under 18 years of age) by appointing legal guardians to care for them if both of their parents die. 

Personal items such as jewellery, paintings and heirlooms can be passed on in the Will and you can benefit good causes by leaving a legacy or share of your estate to charity free of inheritance tax 

Asset protection

An ever-ageing population means that tens of thousands of homes are sold each year to fund the cost of residential care. A carefully drafted Will can provide that a share of the family home passes into a trust on first death, which may give the survivor a right to occupy. The trust will ensure that the capital will be preserved from nursing home fees and instead passes to the intended beneficiaries. A trust of this type can be drafted flexibly to allow the survivor to ‘down-size’ or move property.

Other considerations

Many people own their homes jointly so it passes to the survivor automatically on death.  This may not always be the best form of ownership for you and it may be better for you to continue to own it jointly but as tenants in common. 

Home-made Wills should be treated with caution and should only be used in the most straightforward of circumstances. Some home-made Wills can be disastrous. For example, people omit to cover the position if the main beneficiary does not survive; or refer to assets that are not owned on death.  Often they are not executed properly and easier for someone to challenge after your death.

Instead, have your Will drafted by Martin Shepherd Solicitors, by a properly qualified professional.  Our fees are not the high costs people often believe – view fees page

Contact Gareth Humberstone or Debbie Gibbs. links

Some people believe that unregulated Will Writing services are a better and cheaper option.  However, such services have been found to have:

• Produced Invalid wills: 

Unregulated Will writers can produce invalid wills due to basic drafting errors. These errors can range from basic typing errors and the use of inappropriate standard clauses through to errors in designing trusts.

Will writers making untrue claims: 

Unregulated Will writers can make untrue claims to consumers. These claims can include representing themselves as regulated and insured, some even representing themselves as solicitors. Many can also make untrue claims about changes in the law rendering consumers’ current Wills invalid, frightening them into unnecessarily having new Wills written.

Disappearing wills and will-writing companies: 

Incidences of  Will writing companies going out of business and their clients’ wills subsequently disappearing are known to have occurred. This is despite many of their clients having paid  substantial sums for the purportedly safe storage of their Wills.

Hidden fees: 

There have been reports of widespread use of hidden fees by Will Writers. Many consumers are duped by wills being advertised at a low cost only to find additional costs for ‘extras’ such as additional clauses, review charges and storage fees, in some cases causing the price to rise to considerably more than the advertised price and substantially more than the cost of having a will done by a regulated professional. 

Fraud in estate administration: 

Despite the significant costs and stress caused by sub-standard Will drafting, it is during the process of estate administration where much of the large-scale fraud and theft from estates occurs from unregulated bodies.

The consequence of dying intestate (i.e. without having made a Will) can prove both complicated and expensive. At a stressful time for your family and friends such worry, complications and expense can be avoided through making a correct Will.

Our Will Writing Service

Even if you have already made a Will it is important to keep this under review at regular intervals (at least every five years). The world does not stand still and in particular your family circumstances and relevant taxation laws will change.

It is always best to instruct a solicitor who is legally trained and insured.

Solicitors are not as expensive as you may think and instructing Gareth Humberstone or Debbie Gibbs at Martin Shepherd gives you peace of mind as you can rely on the work being done properly.