DH and I are investigating making wills to cover our 2DSs. I see that you can buy will kits to write your own but I'm just wondering what the benefit is of getting one drawn up by a solicitor and what the likely costs would be. Our estate would consist of our house, pensions, life insurance policies and income protection policies. Would love to say that we own lots of valuables but sadly not!
How many executors of a will should there be? One, two, more?
We've decided who we would like our DSs to go to in the worst case, would it cause any problems if this was different to the executors of our will?
Please please please don't use a make a will kit. I've administered several estates where the deceased has used one and ALL of them have been a nightmare (costing up to £6k to rectify or to plead with the probate registrar to get them to accept badly drafted ones).
Usually more than one executor - two or three is 'the norm'. More than 3 can be a bit unwieldy in terms of admin/signing things and getting everyone to agree on everything. The guardian of your DSs can be someone different - but if you are leaving money to the DSs it would be usual for the guardians to be involved as trustees though not compulsory by any means.
As for costs, how long's a piece of string really - it depends where you are in the country, what sort of firm you go to, how complex your affairs are... I would expect to pay from £250 each for a decent small firm in the regions, more in London, more if your affairs are complex and I have personally charged up to £2k where things have been very complex and I have needed to travel to visit the client etc. Firms with expertise in Will writing can be found via www.step.org, ring some local ones and ask for charges.
Oh, I meant to say - some firms will offer dirt cheap wills and often this is because they hope to make money on doing the probate work - they will hold your will and hope your executors instruct them to administer the estate (as estate admin is more profitable). So wills can be a loss-leader IYSWIM. Back in the 'old days' a lot of firms would offer to appoint themselves as executors so that they would then be in control of the estate (and the fees) but I think now solicitors have to be very careful about this and give specific advice that they don't have to be appointed and that they would stand to profit from being appointed etc. I know the last firm I was at was very very cautious about firm appointments.
Have had a glass of wine so may be a little inarticulate, but hope you get the gist!
I work for a law firm and we charge £180+VAT for a pair of "standard" mirror wills, ie wills for a married /cp couple. But it is Wills Aid month at the moment whereby at participating firms you can get a standard will done and the firm donates the fee to charity willaid.org.uk just put in your postcode to find your nearest firm. I too echo the advice above re homemade wills. I recently dealt with an estate where there was a 25 year old homemade will. We had to get Counsel's opinion on the interpretation because the language was confusing and contradictory as to who should benefit and when. The fees were about £20k.
Mumblechum did ours earlier this year for around £150. She was super professional and everything was done really quickly and easily. She also helped with getting things right by appointing an extra reserve executor (one of ours is quite old but it was important to DH) and making sure we make things as easy as possible for our beneficiaries (no children, leaving our estate to particular extended family members). I can't recommend her highly enough.