Welcome to another edition of our series and in this article, we will look at the best practices and top tips to consider when searching for the right solicitor to write or update your Will.

For many of us having a Will drawn up is on the bottom of the ‘To Do’ list, when actually it should be a priority as you never know what’s around the corner! It’s important to get your affairs in order in the event of your death if you want to ensure your assets go where you want them to, and your wishes are known. You shouldn’t wait for a big event regarding your health to prompt you to make a Will as certain illnesses and situations may affect its legitimacy.

Where to start…

Best Practices & Top Tips

  1. Recommendations – Ask friends or family if they have a Will in place and who they used to prepare it. Did their experience go smoothly? Were they happy with the advice and help that they received from the solicitor? Would they recommend them?
  2. Website – Try a simple Google search and see if any solicitors near you offer a Will writing service. Just because they appear first on the search list may not mean they are the best or the right ones for you, so investigate further. Look at a few websites and read their history and background.
  3. Google Reviews – Once you have found a preferred firm, it is really helpful to look at the Google reviews to see what previous clients have to say about their experience with them. Even if you are looking for reviews specifically relating to Will writing, read a selection as they will provide an overall opinion about the firm.
  4. Legal Jargon – Writing your Will for the first time can be confusing, so having an expert who will break down the legal terminology into plain English will help make the process a lot simpler. Does the business promote that they are legal jargon free?
  5. Fee Transparency – Firms providing fee transparency is a good sign, the basic price should be communicated with you, and you should ask if there are any hidden costs so that there won’t be any surprises when it comes time to paying the bill.
  6. Comparing Costs – Choosing a firm just because it is the cheapest can have consequences. You may not receive a quality service, many Will writers are not regulated and have no qualifications and they may not be insured. We recommend you do your homework first.
  7. Initial Consultation – Most firms offer a consultation that allows you to discuss what you need from the expert before you commit. This may not be so relevant for Wills as it is usually a straightforward process, however it is important that you get a good feel for the expert you use as your Will is a very important document that shouldn’t consist of any short cuts.
  8. Legal bodies and accreditations – check that the firm you are considering has all the necessary qualifications and accreditations to carry out the work.

Legal bodies & Qualifications

As well as best practices and top tips, there are also certain legal bodies that you should look out for regarding the regulation of the firm and individual qualifications. Identifying these helps ensure that you are being provided with the right service and top-quality professional help.

SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority) – the SRA logo and a registered number should easily be seen on the firm’s website and linked to a page that states the website has been verified by the SRA. This means that:

  • everyone who works for the firm must meet the high standards the SRA set.
  • this firm must have the right level of insurance to protect you in case something goes wrong.
  • you may be able to claim through the SRA Compensation Fund to have your money reimbursed if this firm or a solicitor working for it loses your money you can complain to the SRA if you are concerned about the behaviour of this firm.

The Association of Lifetime Lawyers (Formally SFE – Solicitors for the Elderly) – there is a requirement for passing of exams before becoming a member, followed by ongoing professional development and adherence to a professional code of conduct so you can be sure you are in safe hands.

STEP (Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners) – the leading worldwide professional body in will drafting, trusts, estates, and related matters.


Writing a Will is generally straight forward, and your solicitor should explain all the potential hiccups involved such as:

Legal Issues – When writing your Will, it is important that your legal advisor ensures that your wishes can be carried out. This requires an understanding of your assets as some will not form part of your estate and cannot be left under your Will. It is also important that they understand issues regarding capacity and potential claims against the estate, otherwise the Will may be challenged and at worst, found to be invalid.

Being too specific – Many people are very specific with their wishes and although solicitors advise detailing about certain things, sometimes being overly specific can be detrimental. Using a good, qualified solicitor will ensure a smooth journey to your perfect Will!

Keeping your Will up to date – At Backhouse Solicitors we recommend that you update your Will after any big changes such as marriage, moving house, divorce as well as changes to assets. Updates should also include substitution clauses, for example if one of your intended beneficiaries were to predecease you, are you sure that the gift or share of your estate passes to the correct person or charity.

Having a witness – In order for a Will to be valid it must have been signed in the presence of two people that are not named as beneficiaries in the Will or married to someone who is. These two witnesses must be physically present at the time of signing the Will, otherwise it will be deemed void.

Will Writing at Backhouse Solicitors

Writing your Will can be a sensitive time and Backhouse Solicitors provide support, sensitivity, and expert advice to make the process as smooth and straight forward as possible. We can help you to minimise the risk of disputes, invalidation, and hefty fines for your family, protecting them and your assets.

If you want to take the first steps and get your Will off your To Do list, contact our friendly team, and book a free 30-minute consultation.

Tel:          01245 893400
Email:     info@backhouse-solicitors.co.uk
Visit:       17 Duke Street, Chelmsford, CM1 1JU
Or send us a message through the Contact Us page on this website.