Where there's a will, there could be a cost trap

The following blog came about following a recent experience with a client. They had used a will writing company to prepare a will around 10 years ago. Since then they have paid £18 per year to cover the ongoing costs associated with storing the will. However, nine days after the client signed the will, it was deposited with the Principle Probate Registry for a one off fee of £20. Once received the Registry issue a Certificate of Deposit of Will confirming that it is held by them.

So, this client has paid a total of £180 for storage costs that were just not needed.

Charging storage fees are quite common with will writers and banks. You will often hear of other services, not just in will writing, which charge a fee to store, introduce or submit something on your behalf. The danger is that they can bring in their own uncapped costs, for services that either cost much less – or nothing at all.

Not only are there cost implications, but there are other hidden dangers. I refer again to the Universal Wealth scandal. If a company goes out of business, but they have secured your cash, you stand very little chance of ever having it returned to you.

Sadly, for will writing services, no regulatory body exists to govern will writing companies. This is in spite of a will being a legal document. That is another reason why it is important to have your will drafted up by a solicitor. They are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), which is an assurance that legal standard are complied with. They are also insured, so if something goes wrong, or documents are lost, solicitors are covered to protect you. What’s more, most solicitors will not charge you any storage fees, or any other unnecessary fees for that matter. None of this protection you will get from a will writing company.

If you are considering writing a will, or you would like to review or change your existing will, Downs Solicitors can help. Contact us for more information.

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