The start of a new year brings many new resolutions and is a great time to also tidy up loose ends, such as writing your Will. But who do you trust to write your Will? It’s an important document that will ensure your money, property, possessions and investments will go to the people you love and causes you care about when you die.
There seem to be an ever growing number of businesses advertising to make your Will for what seems like a great price, but is this really a time to be considering saving money on this vital legal document?
As yet, the Will Writing industry isn’t regulated so there are many companies out there offering to write your Will for a nominal fee, who are not subject to the same stringent legal regulations as a firm of solicitors.
One such company to recently hit the headlines is Universal Wealth Preservation, whose director, Steve Long has been jailed for 8 months for contempt of court for failing to provide the High Court with information regarding the location of £25m of his clients’ missing savings.
Universal Wealth Preservation ran very slick seminars across the country at which they promised to protect people’s savings and homes from care home fees and the taxman by placing assets into a trust, which named Universal Trustees Ltd as trustees. But in a breach of his duties as a trustee, Mr Long is now accused of using his clients’ monies to prop up his own business and transfer millions abroad where the money has now disappeared. This is a very sad situation for those people who trusted Mr Long with their life savings and property.
Because the trust and estate planning sector is not regulated, it’s important to ensure that if you don’t use a solicitor, then the company you choose to write your Will is at the very least a member of a recognised trade body such as the Society of Will Writers or the Institute of Professional Will Writers.
As a member of these organisations, they must have regular, updated training, be insured to cover legal costs if your Will is challenged, and follow a code of practice approved by Trading Standards Institute.
Unless you have a good understanding of the basics of how Wills work and your Will is going to be very simple, we would always recommend that you speak to a solicitor first about writing your Will and take independent legal advice before signing anything or agreeing any action.
Many people wrongly assume that a solicitor will be the most expensive option when choosing someone to write a Will. But this isn’t necessarily true. As members of the Solicitors Regulation Authority, we are held to account to justify our fees in these matters, so we take great pains to be very fair and transparent with our clients.
There are many added benefits of using a solicitor to write your Will, including:
- Options – our legal experts will fully explain all your options to enable you to make the right decisions about your assets.
- We can keep a secret – we are used to keeping confidential information about our clients, so you know that everything you say to us will never be repeated. Plus we will always put your best interests first.
- Confidence – because we have experts who specialise in Will writing day in and day out, you can be more confident that there will be no mistakes made when writing, or signing your Will.
- Knowledge – you don’t have to worry about keeping up with the current law because our staff undertake regular legal training to ensure that they are fully up to date on all legal changes.
- Memberships – in addition to being fully regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, we also have solicitors who are members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, and Solicitors for the Elderly. We are also accredited by the Law Society with a Wills & Inheritance Quality Mark.
- Storage of your Will – we will store your original Will in a fireproof safe, free of charge.
- Protection – if something goes wrong, then you know we are fully regulated and will work hard to resolve any complaints to your satisfaction. Additionally, you have the support of the Legal Ombudsman, should you need it.
You can rely on our legal professionals to help you write a Will to give you and your family peace of mind. Tallents Solicitors have been advising and supporting the people of Nottinghamshire for 245 years now, so you know you can rely on us to be there for you and your family, just as your relatives did.
If you have been affected by any issues surrounding Universal Wealth Preservation, then please seek the advice of a properly qualified solicitor as quickly as possible. And we can’t emphasize enough that you should speak to a solicitor first about writing your Will and take independent legal advice before signing anything or agreeing any action with regards to appointing trustees to your will.