Five questions about: Writing a will


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The Independent Online

You've been dying to write this column, haven't you?

This is a serious business. If you don't get your will written properly, it could cost you a packet.

It can't be that serious, can it?

It was for the West Country folk who used the services of Keith Webber of Chard, Somerset. The will writer was facing a long sentence in jail this week after being found guilty of fraud. The court heard that he siphoned off more than £280,000 from clients over three years.

That is pretty serious. So should I write my will myself?

That would save money, but could lead to expensive mistakes. Self-written wills put together by people ignorant of intestacy rules may not be legally binding, for instance. Or they may include errors that lead to beneficiaries being deprived of their inheritance, or they may cause significant delays and financial hardship to those promised a legacy.

So what should I do?

You want to have a will that includes all your wishes and is not open to misinterpretation or being easily challenged. But the problem is that the whole area of will writing is largely unregulated, so rogue online services or outright crooks can easily set themselves up as will writers. There's little to stop them charging you a fat fee and producing a sub-standard document. If you don't notice any problems, they may only come to light after you've gone, and leave your family with a headache, along with grief. The sensible solution is to get a qualified, regulated legal expert, where you will have a comeback if there are any errors.

How do I find one?

Use a solicitor or accountant. Try for lawyers or the Society of Will Writers (, which works to improve standards in the industry.

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