The real cost of a free Will…

The real cost of a free Will...

We all know the saying “Nothing in life is free” but we are all enticed by a freebie. Sometimes these freebies end up costing us in ways we may not be aware.

From the 1990s to early 2000s, banks were providing a cheap or even free will-writing service and it is thought that as many as 1.5 million customers signed up to. Unbeknown to some of these customers, believing they were getting a great service from their bank, the banks wrote themselves in as Executors, entitling them to charge up to 2.5 percent of the estate value in legal fees to act as an Executor.

Now, if the Estate is valued at a modest £500,000 (and with house prices nowadays this could be a lot more), the fee could be £12,500. Depending on the complexities of the estate, Executors can carry out administration of the estate for far less of a fee and save around £10,000 on typical costs – these savings could be going to your beneficiaries. Unfortunately, it’s not just the banks that were at it, other will-writing providers and solicitors would also write themselves in as Executors. 

Having someone you trust; a friend, family member or loved one as your Executor means that the beneficiaries you have put in place will get as much as possible from your estate without paying unwanted fees. Executors can ask for professional help and support if needed but it is (and should be) the right of the Executors to choose if they require professional help and how much assistance is required, not a right of the person writing the Will. If Executors need professional support to carry out the administration of an estate, they are always able to ask for assistance and it is often better to ask professionals that can give an estimate of the costs up front or a fixed fee.

What should you do if you have taken out a free Will?

Don’t panic! Just check over your Will and see who your Executors are and make sure there are no hidden surprises you may have previously been unaware of. If you are unsure, get a professional to review your Will for you.

If you do have unwanted Executors in your Will, you can write a new Will and state the Executors of your choice.

Your new Will revokes your previous Will, removing any Executors you may not wish to have involved. It’s always worth reviewing your Will on a regular basis, it is a working document that should be reviewed periodically as your wealth, life and family changes.

We are always happy to have a chat with you about who you may want to appoint as your Executors and even help with the discussion with Executors and answer any questions that they may have.

If you would like to have a free chat about your Will, please contact us on or 01727 865 121

Neil Barras-Smith

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