The New Year is often a time at which we all contemplate our futures and there is no better time to “put our affairs in order”. In the first of two articles, Stephen Roberts offers some food for thought…

A Will is a legal document that sets out someone’s wishes when they pass away. It therefore seeks to offer a sense of certainty, guidance and closure for the people left behind.  Despite the importance of this document however, many people either never make a Will or do so without the security of qualified, regulated and insured legal advice.

Stephen Roberts summarises the main benefits of using a solicitor to make a Will.

Qualified legal advice

Many unwanted or nightmare scenarios can arise from failure to avoid the many pitfalls of preparing and signing a Will. It is therefore crucial to seek legal advice when making a Will to ensure that your final wishes are accurately reflected in the document and that they are capable of being carried out in accordance with succession and tax laws.

Solicitors train for years in order to offer competent legal advice. Such advice could include who to appoint to perform the roles of executor and trustee, guardianship for minor children, various types of gifts, possible claims on your estate and tax planning.  You can therefore be sure that solicitors are competent to advise you on your estate and as to how your wishes can be achieved when you pass away.

Professional service

Will writing services can be provided by anyone and therefore service standards vary significantly. Solicitors are regulated and must provide a professional and ethical service to each and every client.  A solicitor must always prioritise your best interests and you can be sure to receive a high standard of personalised service at all times.

If a solicitor stores your Will and accompanying documents, they are under a duty to store them securely. If a solicitor is no longer able to provide secure storage, they must make arrangements to ensure that your Will is securely stored somewhere else (with your consent) and if they are unable to do so then the professional regulator will make those arrangements.  You can therefore be sure that your Will can be located when you pass away.

Peace of mind

In addition to providing qualified legal advice and a professional service, a solicitor must provide insurance cover for every client. This should reassure you that in the rare scenario that the solicitor is at fault in not accurately preparing your Will and thereby causing loss to you or the people you wish to benefit, there is a solution.