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Making a Will - Will writing solicitors

Our specialist Will writing solicitors have extensive experience in preparing Wills to cover all circumstances, if you would like further information on how we can help you, please call us on 01616 966 229 for a no obligation initial chat with one of our advisors. We have a team of friendly and approachable advisors who are waiting to take your call. They will talk to you about your situation without using legal jargon and they will do their best to make you feel comfortable and at ease. If you don’t want to call us initially you can contact us at a time most convenient to you, anytime of the day or night, through our online enquiry form and we will get back to you as soon as we can to see if we can help.

Why make a Will?

There are many different reasons to make a Will: to save Inheritance Tax, to appoint a guardian for a young child, to sort out funeral arrangements or to set out your intentions if you think family members may not agree.

Whether you have a complex estate well over the Inheritance Tax threshold (currently £325,000) or whether you simply want to make sure certain belongings go to certain people, we can make a Will to suit you.

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Should I make a Will?

Ask yourself the following:

  • Do I expect my spouse to inherit all my property?
  • Do I want to make special provision for children, grandchildren and friends?
  • If I have young children would I feel safer appointing a legal guardian in case something happens to me?
  • Would I like advice to minimise Inheritance Tax so that my family benefit and not the tax man?
  • Wouldn't I want to appoint someone I know and trust to ensure my wishes are respected?

If you answer "yes" to any of these then you need a properly drafted Will.

What should I include in my Will?

You can choose who carries out your wishes (your Executors). You can set out whom you wish to benefit from your estate and in what proportions. A Will can allow you to set up a fund to benefit people long after you have passed away (a trust). You can benefit charities if you want. A Will provides certainty as to what is to happen to you and can give guidance to your views on organ donation. This can be of much help to relatives at a difficult time.

Can anyone challenge my Will?

A Will is your wish. There is no point doing one if people can simply change it after you've gone. Sometimes people may try to challenge or "contest" a Will. People may argue that someone did not understand what they were doing when they made their Will or that they were pushed into it. Sometimes a person may have been left out of a Will (by accident or on purpose) when that person was reliant on the person who has died for money and financial support. In these circumstances the law can allow certain people to try to claim from an estate. It is very important therefore that you take legal advice when doing a Will. With vast experience in Will drafting and estate administration, we can help you avoid possible pitfalls.

How often do I need to change my Will?

It is advisable to review your Will generally every five or six years. There may be many reasons though which mean you should review your Will. You may have married since you made your last Will (in which case your Will may actually have been revoked) or you may be divorcing or separating. You may have children or more children or grandchildren now and want to include them in your Will. Your wealth may have gone up and Inheritance Tax could affect you now. Has the value of your house gone up in the last five or six years? If you need to alter your Will you should seek legal advice. We can recommend whether you need a new Will or simply a Codicil. You should not attempt to alter your own existing Will or attach anything to it. This could cause your Will to be void or give many problems to your Executors.

Can I write my own Will?

You can try, but many of the problems encountered with Wills often come from "home-made" Wills. The Probate Registry will usually have to approve the Will before your estate can be collected in. Incomplete signatures, not enough witnesses, pages missing, no date, wrong names, ineffective gifts and not revoking an earlier Will are a few examples of things which can go wrong if you have not sought legal advice for the preparation of your Will.

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How much does making a will cost?

Stephensons' specialist Will writing solicitors have extensive experience in preparing Wills to cover all circumstances. Whether you have a complex estate or you simply want to make sure certain belongings go to certain people, we can make a Will to suit you.

All prices quoted relating to Stephensons legal fees are not inclusive of VAT

Level 1 Wills

£300 Single Will - £400 Mirror Wills (plus VAT and ID check)

Instruction options available

  • We send out a link to our Wills instruction form for you to complete as far as possible and return in advance so that it ensures we can get your Will done in one visit.

  • If you are not on email then we can send a Will pre-appointment questionnaire in the post so that we can get the Will done for you in one visit if you return the questionnaire beforehand.

  • If you want to attend to provide instructions and we then draft the Will and go through it with you before signing all in one attendance (and you don’t want to pre-complete a questionnaire either through our online system or by bringing in a pre-appointment questionnaire we send to you in the post).

Level 2 Wills - Multiple Legacies

£375Single Will - £450 Mirror Wills (plus VAT and ID check)

Suitable if the Will is more complicated, requires multiple legacies or you would like a draft to be sent to you to consider further. This option is also suitable if you would like to attend to provide instructions, we then draft the Will and go through it with you before signing all in one attendance.

Should you need to leave someone out of your Will an additional £90 including VAT will be payable to cover the cost of the advice we need to give you on the implications of this.

Level 3 Wills

£400 Single Will - £600 Mirror Wills (plus VAT and ID check)

Wills to include a trust to protect against factors which could affect the surviving spouse/civil partner together with the relevant deed to ensure that the jointly owned property is owned in such a way to allow a half share to pass into a trust on the first death.

Level 4 Wills

£1,555 (plus VAT and ID check)

This is for people who wish to receive inheritance tax planning advice related to their Will so as to leave as much as possible to their chosen beneficiaries through minimising inheritance tax paid. These Wills can involve the use of trusts to plan to minimise the impact of inheritance tax and is more particularly aimed at married couples/civil partners due to the tax exemptions provided to them*.

*If you are not married or in a civil partnership we would be able to advise you on inheritance tax planning options which advice would be charged on the hourly rates of the person assisting you. Please contact us on 01616 966 229 or complete out online enquiry form for further information if this applies to you.

Who should I bring to my meeting with you to make my will?

You do not have to bring anyone else. Whether we are meeting you face to face, online via a video call or over the telephone, we aim to provide a friendly and supportive service. We will answer all of your questions and reassure you about anything that may be worrying you.

Some people do chose to bring their spouse or another family member. We may ask them to leave the room or call at some point when we are discussing your wishes. You and they should not be offended. It is important that we make sure that you are not under any undue influence and that your Will does what you want, not what someone else wants.

For mirror Wills, where two spouses want to make the same type of Will, usually leaving everything to each other and then children, we will see you together but we may still ask for some time alone with each of you to make sure that it is what you each want.

All of this is about the first meeting to prepare the Will. There are strict rules on executing a Will, which mean, for example, that a beneficiary cannot witness it. We will advise you about that after we have prepared your Will.

Amending a Will  - When you can do so with a codicil

If the majority of the Will is to remain the same, it may be possible to make adjustments by adding a codicil.  A codicil is an additional page added to the original Will and will note the amendments required to this.  For a codicil to be legally binding it needs to be signed and witnessed in the same way as the original Will. You can add multiple codicils to a Will but in some instances a new Will is required. Codicils are only meant to be used for simple amendments. The witnesses to the codicil can differ to the original Witnesses on the Will.

Codicils are appropriate in 2 main circumstances:

  1. To specify to whom an asset should be left, or to add a clause where something or someone has been forgotten
  2. Or to replace an existing clause and replacing it with a new one for instance a change of executor

It is advisable to let your executor(s) know that you have made a codicil, and tell them where it is stored.  Your codicil needs to be attached to and stored with your original Will.

Below is a checklist of when a codicil can be made:

  • Increasing or decreasing a gift to a beneficiary
  • Appointing a different executor
  • Appointing a new Trustee
  • Changing a testamentary guardian
  • Replacing a beneficiary if they have predeceased you  
  • Changing funeral plans

A new Will would be required if:

  • A trust is to be created
  • You want to remove a beneficiary from your Will
  • You want to change the main beneficiary of your Will

This is not an exhaustive list and there are other circumstances and considerations when considering which option is most appropriate. Call us on 01616 966 229 if you would like to confirm whether you require a new Will or can amend an existing Will. 

Further information

Please note that our fixed or estimated fees for Wills and Probate work are based upon a matter having standard features. They give an indication of the likely range of prices in most instances. However if your matter has non-standard features such as complex property, family relationships, dispositions or risks, then we may not be able to assist you for the fees shown on our website. In that instance we may give you an alternative fee quote based on hourly rates or  further fixed or estimated fees.

The advice provided to non-face to face clients will be through electronic or written communication only e.g. by telephone and email. Stephensons Solicitors LLP assumes no responsibility for, and shall not be liable for, (a) verification of mental capacity or testamentary capacity (b) verification of any undue influence or duress involved (c) the execution of any documents.

Locate missing Wills - Certainty

Certainty search can help locate missing Wills:

  • Register Will Search - Search for a registered Will: £33.33 +VAT
  • Combined Will Search - Performs the above search and searches nationally for an unregistered Will: £90.00 +VAT
  • Protect Will Search - Performs the above searches plus a Section 27 Notice: £199.00 +VAT

For more information about a Certainty search visit their website: Searching for a Will

If you cannot locate a Will for someone who has died or believe that a later Will may exist then we recommend using the Certainty service.

This search first checks the National Will Register then performs a REACH search which contacts solicitors closest to the deceased last known addresses and places they may have made their Will.

Finally the search places a Missing Will Notification on the Certainty Missing Will Register.

If the Will is found, the solicitor who holds details on the deceased will contact you directly. At this point you would be required to produce a death certificate and proof of identity prior to discussing the existence of the Will.

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Wills & probate staff reorder

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