How much does a will cost?

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How much does a will cost?

What you’ll have to pay depends on how complicated your circumstances are – and the type of service you decide to use.

You’ve got several options when it comes to writing a will, from doing it yourself to using a lawyer or an online service.

DIY will-writing kits

You can buy a will-writing kit for as little as £6.99 on Amazon, but most experts agree that doing everything yourself comes with risks. You’re also making a rod for your own back. Unless you’re confident you understand the law – it’s your day job, for example – you might find it tricky and hard going. And you run the risk your will won’t be valid. There are also web-based versions of the document kits that cost around £20 or £30.

Free and low-cost services

You might see some ‘free’ will-writing services. Some charities offer will-writing, but will probably expect you to leave them a donation, or ‘legacy’. And solicitors sometimes offer a free service (there may be a minimum age) – again in return for a legacy to charity. But these services might not be able to handle your will if there are some ‘complications’ in your circumstances: you own a business, say, or you have several marriages or civil partnerships behind you.

If you belong to a trade union, they might offer a discounted service. And you might see ‘legal services’ as an option with your home or car insurance, which could include low-cost will-writing. But again, look out for restrictions when it comes to your age or circumstances.

Solicitors and professional will-writing services

Professional will-writing services or solicitors start at around £150 plus VAT, but can cost quite a lot more. If you want to set up trusts or need tax advice, you might pay at least £500 plus VAT.

Prices can vary for solicitors in cities or rural areas, and the size of the firm also makes a difference. According to the Legal Services Board (LSB), it’s well worth shopping around.  Their most recent survey found big differences in prices. There was an £80 difference between the most expensive 25% and the cheapest 25% for simple wills, and a £125 difference for complex wills. (They also say not many firms put prices on their websites, so you’ll have to make a few phone calls.)

Online will-writing services

An online provider that offers advice could be a sensible compromise between solicitors and low-cost services. They cost from around £100 plus VAT. You answer questions online that filter through to a template. Then you can discuss your will and ask questions over the phone. Experts will check over your will to make sure it’s valid. Then they’ll post you a hard copy to sign. You can go at your own pace and don’t have to go to an office.

Whichever option you choose, it’s worth your spouse or partner doing their will at the same time if you want to have more or less the same arrangements. ‘Mirror’ wills usually cost less than doing them individually. You’ll sometimes see packaged ‘offers’ for this.

In a nutshell

A free will service that just asks you to leave some money to charity could make sense if your situation is simple. But if your circumstances are more complicated – you own property overseas, or a business, and have several marriages behind you, say – you’ll need a solicitor. Bills can start at £150 plus VAT but move into the hundreds of pounds for more complicated wills. Online will-writing services start from around £100 plus VAT. You create a will online with templates, with help available on the phone and experts to check your will is valid.

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