Why choose a Society of Will Writers professional to write your will

 21 April 2023
Why choose a Society of Will Writers professional to write your will

After years of writing wills for our estate planning clients, Paul has just become a member of the Society of Will Writers.

The Society of Will Writers is the leading self-regulatory body for Professional Estate Planners with over 1,700 members across the UK. Its main goals are "the advancement, education and ethical standards within the will writing profession". So, the Society exists as much to represent the interests of those wanting to write a will as those writing them.

SoWW Membership - application and commitment

To become a Member, Paul had to complete and pass an in-depth application process, which even he admits was tougher than he first thought! Paul also has committed to ongoing training (a minimum of 24 hours per year) to ensure he is up to date with all aspects of will writing. The Society also offer technical support should he need it.

All Members are required to hold professional indemnity insurance of at least £2million and offer a statutory cooling off period of 14 days in accordance with the Consumer Contract Regulations. In addition, the Society of Will Writers guarantee that in the event of serious or critical illness, death or bankruptcy that any client who has paid for work will have their contract for the drawing up of Wills and associated services or lasting powers of attorney.

The best way to do business

One of the main reasons Paul joined was that the Society's has a Code of Practice which very much aligns with Paul's own way of doing business. This Code requires members to:

1. Act with integrity

2. Conduct his or her business with due skill, care and diligence

3. Observe proper standards when marketing his or her business to the general public

4. Pay due regard to the interests of his or her client and treat them fairly

5. Communicate information to his or her client in a way that is clear fair and not misleading

6. Not create a conflict of interest between himself and his or her client

7. Take reasonable care to ensure the suitability of any advice given to his or her client

8. Ensure that any assets that he or she holds on behalf of a client are fully protected

9. Practice equality and respect diversity

10. Comply with all legal and regulatory requirements including full observance of the Society of Will Writers Code of Practice

Why use a will writer?

When considering writing a will, you may think there are just two options:

  • Write it yourself (DIY)
  • Get a solicitor to draw one up

Neither are ideal.

DIY wills

Unless you have a full knowledge of the relevant law, writing your own will is not a good idea. You may make basic mistakes that at best mean the will is unclear and at worst, invalidate it. You may not realise the IHT implications, and some gifts may fail if you don't follow the rules exactly, such as accidentally making your witness a beneficiary.

Go to a local solicitor

Your local high street solicitor probably offers many services, not just wills and LPAs. As a result, local solicitors may not have the time to spend getting to know you, and recommend a bespoke service or product to you. An Estate Planner such as Paul can discover and include everything you require - your overall wishes, estate and plans.

However, there is a third option - use a professional will writer. A professional will writer specialises in writing wills and their wealth of experience and knowledge makes a world of difference.

Professional will writers have an in-depth knowledge of succession planning law, so can advise you as to the best way to write your will to benefit you and your family. Many - like Paul - are also estate planners, so can offer a more holistic view of your finances and estate, to ensure your will covers all your wishes and your assets.

What’s needed in a Will

Professional Will Writers can also advise you on other aspects of your Will, including:

  • Your choice of executors
  • Trusts and trustees to protect beneficiaries
  • Guardianships for young children
  • Principles and current levels of IHT (Inheritance Tax)
  • Help and advice if your estate is complex with a blended family or remarriage, for example

Most of all, they will ensure that your Will is as 'watertight' as possible in case it is challenged after your death. This happens remarkably often. According to a survey by IBB Law:

"3 in 4 people are likely to experience a will, inheritance, or probate dispute in their lifetime. Inheritance disputes among siblings are the most common form of dispute."

Call on us for expert help and advice

If you haven't made a will, or need to update yours, call Paul for help and advice to put this important paperwork in place.

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I am happy in the knowledge that should anything untoward happen in the future, Panthera will resolve the problem.

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