A Will is either legally valid, or it is not. Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is either successfully registered with a court, or it is not. Grant of Probate is either obtained or it is not. Therefore, the choice of how these are achieved is one solely for a potential client wishing to arrange either a Will, LPA or Grant of Probate.
The three basic options are either for a person to generate their own documents, visit a solicitor or use a professional Will Writer/Estate Planner. Very few people have the confidence to generate their own documents due to the risk of mistakes or omissions creating problems in the future. A solicitor is definitely the most traditionally associated with such matters, so many people automatically gravitate in that direction. A professional Will Writer/Estate Planner is a more recent additional option, and perhaps one that is considered to be the “poor relation” to a solicitor.
However, provided the end result is a legally valid Will, successfully registered LPA or obtaining a Grant of Probate certificate, it can prove beneficial to examine the contrast between a solicitor and a professional Will Writer/Estate Planner more thoroughly. A solicitor is far more likely to operate from an office environment, based conveniently in a town or city location. A Will Writer is more likely to operate from an office in their home, which does generally give them a cost advantage, which should be reflected in their fee structure. A solicitor is accountable to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), whereby a Will Writer/Estate Planner may not be accountable to any professional body. Therefore, you should ensure that a Will Writer/Estate Planner is affiliated to a body such as the Society of Will Writers. This means that the practitioner shall be required to operate using appropriate and adequate insurance for the benefit of their clients AND that Will Writer/Estate Planner is also required to have robust complaints & privacy policies, client protection driven business practices, as well as undertake continuing learning and study relating to their professional activities.
Finally, it is important to consider the timescales within which each operates. The most common feedback we receive from clients having previously attempted to use a solicitor, is that such solicitors take a very long time to undertake their work. This can be due to the financial pressure they are under to secure as much business as possible, unfortunately at the expense of the quality of client service. This can also lead to much greater fees being charged to the client. You are more likely to have your requirements satisfied swiftly by a smaller, yet equally effective practitioner such as a professional Will Writer/Estate Planner. (Please note that the above comparison does not apply to ALL solicitor firms or Will Writers/Estate Planners).