Writing a will

All of the information given here is taken from a range of online sources, to save
you the trouble.  You can also find information on our Employee
Assistance Programme website:  wecare-cl.com See Our Trust Hub for log in details.

You may wish to seek advice from a financial advisor for guidance tailored to your personal circumstances.

Why do I need to make will?

Making a will is vital if you want to be certain that your wishes are met after you die.  A will is the only way to make sure your money, property, possessions
and investments (known as your estate) go to the people and causes that you
care about.  If you and your partner aren’t married or in a civil partnership, your partner won’t have a right to inherit if you don’t have a will.

https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/money-legal/legal-issues/making-a-will/

Let’s be brutal – we’re all going to die.  And if it happens when you’re will-less, on top of the grief, it can cause a financial nightmare for the people you care about. Worryingly, 42% of UK adults haven’t got a will, according to a January 2018 survey by Macmillan Cancer Support.  Die will-less and your affairs can be in limbo for years. Yet many either don’t want to think about making a will or are worried about the cost. You must be aware it could leave behind big problems, possibly as severe as being unable to pay the bills as the bank’s locked off the money.

https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/family/free-cheap-wills/

What does a will do?

Writing a will has four main functions:

  1. To name your executors
  2. To distribute your estate
  3. To provide for any surviving children aged
    under 18
  4. To reduce inheritance tax

Free professional wills

Wills are legal documents, and as small errors can cause big problems, it’s preferable to have someone legally qualified draft it for you. But getting a solicitor to write your will isn’t cheap. Even a simple will could easily cost £150 in fees, and you’ll have to pay VAT on top of that.

However some solicitors have more expertise at will-writing than others, and just because you get it through a charity is no guarantee of quality. Unfortunately it’s not easy to review and assess individual solicitors or will-writers so our primary focus is on cost, not feedback or expertise.

If you’ve complicated affairs and a will-writing expert is your prime concern, then looking for recommendations and the reputation of individual will-writers or solicitors is the best bet.

Are you already entitled to a will?

A number of organisations and groups provide wills to limited numbers of qualifying individuals, so check if you’re entitled to one of these first.

Trade unions and employers

A number of trade unions, including major ones like the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), the NASUWT teachers’ union, the Fire Brigades Union and Unison offer free or heavily discounted will-writing services to their members – so if you’ve got your union card they’re worth checking.

Alternatively a few employers may offer will-writing as part of their legal services. Check exactly how it works, though. If it’s just filling in a template letter, you may be better with the full solicitor-drafted options below.

Included in home or car insurance legal cover

If you opted to get legal cover as part of your home or car insurance policy, check whether it includes a will service. For example, More Than’s approx £20 home insurance add-on legal service allows access to a range of wills and other legal template documents.

Complete your details and the will is checked by a legal team, who’ll send it back to you for signing.  Of course, this is only suitable for simple wills. But it’s worth seeing if your insurer offers it.

Charity-based schemes

Many charities offer solicitor will-writing schemes, and these are usually completely free. In return, while you’re not obliged to, they hope you’ll make a donation or bequest (a donation in your will) as part of it. Here’s a list of the main schemes…

Do remember it is a charity paying for your will, and it may be shelling out £100s, so please seriously consider leaving a bequest.

Free Wills Month – every March and October

Free Wills Month takes place every March and October and lets those aged 55+ get a solicitor-drafted will for free– though it is hoped you’ll leave something to charity.

If you’re getting a ‘mirror will’ as a couple, only one of you needs to be over 55.  As you’d normally pay about £150 or more for even the simplest will, this is always popular and there are only a limited number of appointments available. 

Quick stats:

  • Who’s it for? People aged 55 or over
  • When is it? Every March and October
  • Where is it? Across the UK
  • Who writes the will? External solicitor
  • Donation asked for? You’ll be asked to
    leave money to a charity in your will. But the decision is yours.
  • How can I help the charities that back the scheme?

The charities involved pay for the solicitors’ time, so be prepared for your solicitor to ask you to consider making a bequest to a charity in your will
(leaving the charity something when you die). The wish is that you will do so,
but you’re under no obligation.

In 2019, the scheme is supporting: Age UK, Blue Cross, Breast Cancer Now, British Heart Foundation, Diabetes UK, Dogs Trust, Guide Dogs, Marie Curie, Mencap, Mind, National Trust, NSPCC, Prostate Cancer UK, Redwings, RNLI, Royal British Legion, Salvation Army, Stroke Association, Tenovus Cancer Care and Versus Arthritis.

The scheme covers simple wills – if your affairs are complex, your solicitor’s
likely to ask you to pay a contribution to cover the extra time they spend
writing your will.

Appointments are also limited by the number of wills each solicitor is happy to write under the scheme.

Will Aid – every November

Will Aid runs every November and is when nine charities and 900 solicitors team up to provide basic wills to anyone, regardless of age, for a charitable donation. It’s always popular so contact Will Aid from September and be quick, particularly in the south, to book a November appointment.

There’s no set fee but Will Aid hopes you’ll make a donation of around £95 for a single will or £150 for a pair of basic ‘mirror wills’, which it will distribute to
its partner charities. This is a good price for a solicitor-drafted will but if
you can’t afford it, you can give less. Don’t game it though, as it is for
charity.

How do I get my cheap will? 

Just follow three simple steps:

  1. Enter your postcode on the Will Aid website or phone 0300 0309 558 to find your nearest participating solicitor who still has availability. 
  2. Contact the solicitor to arrange an appointment, stating you’re calling as part of the Will Aid scheme. 
  3. You can donate via the Will Aid website before you go and take a print-out of the receipt with you, or donate once you’re there.

Solicitors do this primarily to help the charities, though of course it does bring in
potential new customers as well.  You also get free will registration (to make it easy for your family to find your will) via Certainty National Wills Register.

Quick stats:

  • Who’s it for? Everyone
  • When is it? November but get in touch from September onwards
  • Where is it? Across the UK
  • Who writes the will? External solicitor
  • Donation asked for? £95 single, £150 joint is suggested, but it is down to you. 

For a discussion on the etiquette of suggested donations and feedback on the scheme, read the full Will Aid discussion on the forum.

Tips For Making A Will During The Pandemic

There are also some things that you might need to think about when making a will during the pandemic – such as doing it from the comfort of your home, through to getting it safely witnessed. 

https://www.rhn.org.uk/support-us/making-will-covid-19-pandemic/