Any Will is better than no Will at all
Now, we all like a good deal. Online shopping has become incredibly popular over the last few months. You can buy just about anything you want and have it delivered to your door, and at a cost saving of going to the shops (if you could go that is!). Nothing wrong with that at all, but in general people go for brands they know or a product they trust. Effectively they know what they're paying for and can enjoy a good deal.
Nearly all of the "cheap wills" start with a seemingly brilliant (or even free) price. They'll also say they're local when they're not. When you look into it, they are generally offering a simple single will or mirror will. Anything else over and above that is charged for, and not with the same level of discount. Commonly known as a "lost leader" to drag you in and then add items as needed. As long as you know and understand this, that's fine. However many of the online will companies aren't 100% clear about this. By the time you've added Trusts, Lasting Powers etc, the costs can exceed that of a professional Estate Planner. If you're comparing prices, ensure they're the same products and the same service.
Another one to be wary of is the will offered by your employer or union. Often these are free and are better than nothing, but simply don't include everything the average client needs. I had one checked recently as I couldn't believe how "empty" it was. I was advised that it was as basic as you could get and not worth its weight in paper!
I thought I'd fill in three companies forms to test this out. I picked the top Will Writers in the UK (so they said). The first called in under 10 seconds! Fairly straightforward, basic information requested and in 2 minutes I was told which package would suit. In all cases, I was asked to pay a fee to secure the 45-minute consultation. I refused, and one company was extremely rude telling me to stop talking so he could ask me why! All he wanted to do was take the money, book an appointment and sell me the Will. Using a typical client's needs, I explained I was married and had savings and property to protect for my two children. and thought that a £29 Will probably wasn't going to cover that (it wouldn't on its own). That one company I had to put the phone down. The response in all cases was the Will writer would explain the options...
So, I was expected to pay out for advice I hadn't received and couldn't question. I have to say I wasn't impressed. This goes directly against how we work. We spend all the time needed to get it 100% right for you and it's only when you're happy to sign off the creation of your Estate plan that we ask for any money.
I've now had to block the numbers of two companies who keep calling. Once you're in that loop - you'll get call after call... Don't you just hate pushy sales tactics, automated emails, texts etc??
These companies then put the information into simple will-writing software with few options so if the will isn't straightforward, it would be difficult to produce a Will that could do the job.
They then send the documents to you for you to organise the signing and witnessing on your own. With Lasting Powers, this is problematic as they have to be signed in a certain way and will be rejected if done incorrectly. We, however, are with you every step of the way with one of the most powerful software packages in the world handling UK Wills. We produce everything for you and observe and assist the signing of all documents so there are no problems.
We don't do "cheap wills" for a starter. If you just want cheap, we're not the place for you. That's not to say that we're expensive - far from it, and after you look at a cheap will service, once everything is listed and compared to us, we are always very competitive and mostly more economical overall. But it's the extra services that define the difference between an online service and a professional Estate Planner. We are there for you, and our service doesn't end when the documents are produced. We look after you for life.
We offer proper consultation with you over the phone, via video call or COVID allowing, in person. We do our own "Fact Find" with you to help determine what's best for your situation, now and in the future. We produce a report based upon the facts presented, your wishes, your financials and personal situation.
We never draft an "off the shelf" plan, each one is fitted to our client. We will outline all the options, prices and what they all do. We are transparent in our services and give best industry advice. You don't have to accept this advice, but we have to present you with all the facts, explain them so they are clear, so you can make an informed decision. It is all based upon your needs and the level of protection you want. This all takes time, listening, understanding and comprehending our clients wishes.
Once gathered and agreed, we begin to draft your personalised plan which may include many components. We don't just rely on the Will or Trusts etc, we also produce documentation to support the Will in case of attack. We look after the poor executor by explaining the Will in non-legal English, We help you produce a Memorandum of Wishes to outline in your words what you want in the end. We produce these for any trusts as well to be crystal how you wish things to be. We see these items as our "service pack" given free of charge to all Estate Plan clients - you won't find that online. For Lasting Powers of Attorney we handle all the paperwork, you don't have to do anything. We even give for free a General Power of Attorney to protect you while the main lasting powers are validated. There is so much to mention, and so little space to do so.
If you want a quality cost-effective professional service when sorting out some of the most important legal documents you'll ever instruct, you need to talk to us. There is no obligation to do anything. We don't chase, annoy or pester. We are available at times to suit you. We have the view that if you understand what the plan will do for you, it's an easy decision. Also, if it's not right for you "now", you'll come back when it is, as you will have experienced our excellent service first hand.
When the time comes, we're here to help your loved ones with sorting everything out.