Why should you use a solicitor to write your Will?

13th December 2023

A recent report from the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP): “Wills and Trusts: Buyer Beware (08.12.23)”, highlighted research concerning the preparation of Wills by unqualified or incompetent advisors in the UK. They had investigated whether these unqualified or incompetent advisors were taking advantage of their clients or letting them down because they lack specialist skills and knowledge. The report highlights why you should use a solicitor to write your Will.

The STEP findings showed as follows:

  • Nearly 80% of respondents have come across cases of Wills with errors
  • The majority (63%) have encountered cases where a Will-writing company has quoted a fee for writing a Will but later added additional costs not covered within the terms of business
  • Over half (55%) had come across cases of incompetence or dishonesty in the drafting and administration of trusts
  • Nearly half (54%) have come across firms making false claims about the Wills they are selling to clients
  • A third of respondents had come across cases where incompetence has led to significant tax bills (with examples of tax charges in many instances in the tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds and in a few cases up to £2 million)

Bowmore Financial Planning research

Another recent piece of research by Bowmore Financial Planning published in ePrivateClient this month, revealed that around 674,000 company directors in the UK have reached the state retirement age of 67 or older.

Given there is a total of over 5.2 million companies on the UK register (as of September 2023), potentially more than 10% of companies have a director at or above the national retirement age. The research also showed that 109,000 company directors are aged over 80 and 12,000 are aged over 90.

Bowmore’s client director, Charles Incledon, stated that these figures could represent a possible succession crisis for businesses in the UK, which are also experiencing a decrease in total mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deals over the last two years.

Planning for succession in a business is something that all business owners need to take on as early as possible. Exiting a business successfully should be incorporated into any retirement plan, but not necessarily be the sole focus of the plan itself.

How can Blake Morgan help?

At Blake Morgan we believe that everyone should have a professionally-drafted, up to date Will, which is bespoke to them and their needs, takes account of tax planning and is prepared by as adviser with the necessary skills and expertise. Where relevant, estate planning advice and the final Will should tie in with your business plans, and our award-winning Succession & Tax Team work closely with our Corporate Team to ensure this is the case.

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