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Want to get your final wishes in check with estate planning or will writing? Read our handy guide to find out how much your wills and estate planner will charge for their services.
Estate planning is the process where you specify your instructions relating to how your assets should be distributed after your death. Or in the event that you are living, but no longer able to communicate your wishes due to physical or mental impairment.
Estate planning will dictate who your assets are to go to, when and in what form. Working all of the details out while you are able to, will reduce stress on your loved ones. It will also make sure you get the final say on what happens to your own assets, rather than the government deciding for you. The process needs to be done in a thoughtful way, ensuring the instructions are clear, but also so that you minimise any cost or tax implications.
While the term ‘estate’ might seem like something that’s only for the most well off in society, you might be surprised to learn that everyone has an estate. The term covers things such as your house, car, bank account, investments and your possessions. So in essence, estate planning is making sure that each of these assets is distributed in a way in which you approve, while you are able to make such decisions.
Estates with a value above £325,000 will require estate planning services to avoid inheritance tax issues. Though if your estate is below this value, you can still go ahead with estate planning or at the very least writing a will.
Both estate planning and wills look to create a plan for your assets. However, there are some differences between the two which ultimately affects the price.
Wills are more simplistic in nature, in that they record your last will and testament. This includes how you want your assets to be divided. Wills are usually quite concise, in that they don’t go into further detail about business management or healthcare instructions, as an example.
Estate planning takes a more rounded approach to your wishes and instructions, both on a personal and practical level. In many cases, estate planning will include drawing up a will and a trust if applicable. Also included would be a power of attorney, healthcare directives, along with any other legal documents that help manage your estate.
If you own a business, have had more than one marriage, want to donate some of your assets to charity, or have specific requests about your assets, then estate plans are advisable. But, if you simply want to make a record of who is to benefit from your estate, then a will may suffice.
The cost of estate planning ranges between £150 and £350 per hour, with the average estate plan taking between 20 - 25 hours to draw up. Therefore, you should expect a total cost of between £3,000 and £8,750.
The cost varies because estate planning is a complex matter, with no two people having the same assets or even wishes. On a basic level, you may just want to record your requests relating to asset division. However, more comprehensive estate planning looks at wealth management, especially where children are concerned.
|Average cost (per hour)||£200|
|Minimum cost (per hour)||£150|
|Maximum cost (per hour)||£350|
The cost of estate planning also depends on your location and the experience of the professional. As a general rule, solicitors in the South East of the UK tend to charge far more compared with other areas of the country. So it’s worth shopping around to find the right services and price, depending on the level of estate planning you require.
If you are going ahead with an estate plan, then the cost of a will is normally included for free. Though given estate plans are more comprehensive not to mention expensive, they aren’t going to suit everyone. In such a case, you can simply opt to have a will drawn up instead which will be cheaper overall.
The cost of having a will drawn up varies between £100 and £250 on average when done through a solicitor.
It is possible to find cheaper will writing services. However, caution should be applied as this is not a financially regulated industry. This means if your will is not written by a legal professional (i.e a solicitor or law firm) then the document may not be watertight. Where possible, always use a professional who is regulated by the SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority). That way, you can ensure your wishes will be carried out, and that your loved ones will avoid any unnecessary aggravation or costs.
The cost of estate planning varies depending on several factors, including:
Type of estate planning
The estate type
Number of beneficiaries involved
As mentioned above, no two individuals are going to have the same estates. It doesn’t just depend on how much money you have in the bank, but whether you’ve been married before, have investments, own a business etc. There is a long list of considerations that may mean you require additional services or not. Such services include LPAs, living wills, family protection trust and a deed of variation. As an example, a single LPA (lasting power of attorney) can cost between £150 and £250 on average. More intricate processes such as a single family protection can cost up to £4,000.
Though it’s good to remember that if drawing up a plan, each of these aspects will likely be cheaper when grouped together, rather than approaching a solicitor for individual aspects.
|Type of estate planning||Highest average price||Lowest average price|
|Single family protection trust||£4,000||£2,500|
The term ‘estate’ refers to every aspect of your net worth. Assets can be categorised into tangible (physical) and intangible (non-physical) assets. So for example, land, property, cash, cars, boats, antiques etc are all tangible assets. Stocks, investments or insurance policies aren’t things you can pick up and grab, so are intangible. Such terms are a great starting point to get you thinking about everything you own, beyond what you have in the bank. That’s because all of your assets need to be taken care of within your estate plan.
All estates worth £325,000 or more will benefit from estate planning, otherwise your beneficiaries will be hit by a hefty 40% inheritance tax. So even if your house is worth £250,000, your other assets may combine to take you over that threshold.
The price will be determined by the number of hours it will take for a solicitor to draw up a plan for each aspect, and run it through with you to make sure you’re in agreement.
Solicitors may charge by the hour for estate planning, or charge a flat fee based on the 20-25 hour average the entire process takes. Again, for extremely large (over £2,000,000) or complex estates, you should expect some variation on this.
Law is complicated at the best of times, but when it comes to will and estate planning, there is also an emotional element to consider. As a parent or grandparent, you may want to take extra time to ensure each person gets a fair share. Or you may want to leave a certain amount for charity. Then there are all the tax implications to avoid by doing so - therefore, the more beneficiaries you have, the longer your estate plan will take to draw up.
All solicitors must be qualified to practice, though of course their experience will differ greatly. As with any service you wish to hire, the more experienced or specialised the individual is, the more they are likely to cost.
Legal services are rarely cheap regardless, though the location, of course, plays a factor in the total cost. In the UK, solicitors run on a price scale of National Grade 1-3, and London Grade 1-3. In both categories, grade 1 denotes a higher level of experience, therefore will cost more than a junior solicitor.
|Location||Average solicitor cost (per hour)|
Having worked hard all of your life to acquire your assets, it’s important that when the time comes, they are distributed in a way in which you see fit. The death of a loved one can be extremely difficult for those left behind, though when the person has made their wishes abundantly clear in a legal capacity, then this will ensure the process is carried out as smoothly as possible.
If no will or estate plan is made, then you will die intestate which means the government will decide what happens to your money. If no beneficiaries make a claim, then eventually your estate will be absorbed by the crown. So, it is well worth estate planning or at least drawing up a will, regardless of the value of your estate.
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The average rating for Bark Will Writers is 4.82, based on 50,216 reviews.