A will-writing drive which underlines the importance of having a will drawn up by a professional, is supporting solicitors in their battle to prevent sub-standard wills being produced by untrained will writers.
A survey carried out by Will Aid, a national organisation which arranges a month-long campaign every November, has revealed that in 2016 38% of people opted to write their own paperwork or use online or high street will writers – up from 34% in 2015.
The majority choose to use a solicitor - 62% - although this is down from 66% in 2015.
Campaign director Peter de Vena Franks said Will Aid was hoping to continue to work with solicitors to promote a professional job over a DIY one.
“Drawing up a will is a vital financial planning step but the lure of the cheaper alternatives to solicitors can mean the document is not properly written nor legally binding.
“This can leave a family with nothing but a legacy eaten away by legal bills or unnecessary tax.
“Will Aid only works with professional solicitors who take care about how this document is drawn up to prevent it being challenged or disregarded further down the line.
“With the fee going to charity, it encourages people to speak to a solicitor rather than risk a botch job.”
Will Aid works with law firms across the country who pledge a portion of their time to write basic wills in exchange for a donation for charity.
As part of Will Aid, clients of participating firms are asked to make a voluntary donation for a basic will in place of the usual fee.
Mr de Vena Franks said:
“While an off-the-shelf will might seem attractive to those who are watching the pennies, it could be money wasted rather than saved. After all, if errors are made the document could be invalid.
“Will Aid solicitors offer a gold standard of will writing which means those people who prepare wills with us also get peace of mind too.”
Research by Will Aid has revealed that of the people who made a will last year, 62% did so with a solicitor and 12% with a will writer. A further 9% made a homemade will, 6% a DIY kit, 5% a bank or high street service and 4% an online service. The remaining 2% used alternative methods.
Last year 66% had used a solicitor and 10% a will writer. Slightly less people had chosen to create a homemade document at 7% but more had gone to a bank or high street service at 6%. Just under 4% had used online services and just under 6% DIY kits.
Other research carried out last year by the professional negligence team at Bolt Burdon Kemp highlighted that the public were generally unaware of the rules and regulations governing will-writers and were shocked to find out that will-writers, although often reputable and reliable, can practise without proper training, regulation or insurance.
Solicitors have long campaigned for tighter regulations on the industry – and this is supported by Will Aid.
Will Aid started in 1988 and since then more than 300,000 people have made a will through the scheme which supports nine of the UK’s best-loved charities and has raised more than £17 million since it launched more than 25 years ago.
Mr de Vena Franks said:
“The Will Aid initiative doesn’t work without the help of solicitors nationwide. But it it is a win-win situation for everybody involved.
“They can commit as much time as they want, access a range of publicity perks and use it as a platform to meet new clients.
“More than 85% of the participating solicitors who participated last year gained extra fee earning business thanks to Will Aid.”
“Will Aid is a wonderful opportunity to not just make a will, but do it correctly.”
Will Aid 2016 still needs volunteers. So sign up today to make a valuable difference.