Families warned to steer clear of ‘cheap’ Will writing services
In recent days, it has emerged that around 1.5 million British families have inadvertently tied themselves into paying hefty fees due to “sneaky” clauses hidden in the small print of Wills drafted by banks as opposed to regulated solicitors.
According to a report in The Times, ‘cheap’ Will-writing services sold in the late 1990s and early 2000s – which were often advertised for as little as £75 – came with additional costs which are likely to have gone unseen by families at the time.
Specifically, clauses were often included enabling banks (who were offering the Will-writing services) to appoint themselves as an executor and later claim up to 2.5 per cent of a customer’s estate in fees.
Reports suggest that banks have drafted as many as 1.5 million Wills over the past 20 years – and that some are still offering Will-writing services bound by these dubious clauses.
The Times estimates that banks are likely to make approximately £9 million in profits from these services, which could cost an average family inheriting a £500,000 estate approximately £12,500 in fees.
Justin Modray, of consumer advice website Candid Money, described the practice as “sneaky” and warned that Britons who had used these services – or are thinking of doing so in the near future – would be hit with “high charges further down the line.”