Will Aid: Make a Will without the solicitor's fees
Writing a Will is not a priority for most people, but right now you have the chance to get one written for a fraction of the normal cost.
Writing a Will is something many people put off, either because it’s towards the bottom of the ‘To Do’ list or because we don’t want to think or talk about death.
In fact 28 million of us haven't yet made a will in the UK, according to research from Will Aid.
Instead of putting it off, you've got a chance to get a Will written up without paying the solicitors fees in November thanks to the month-long Will Aid campaign.
Why do I need a Will?
This is the question pretty much everyone considers at some point. The main reason you need a Will is that without one, you'll have no say in what happens to your assets when you die.
If you die intestate (without a Will), surviving spouses, for example, will automatically inherit £250,000 of an existing estate and anything above this will go to any children at age 18. However, with a Will in place you’re able to specify how much will go to a spouse, or children, and at what age they’ll be able to take control of this money.
Another major reason for getting a Will is if you’re living with someone, but you're not married. Without one, there’s no guarantee you will inherit anything when a partner dies.
As well as writing a Will, it needs to be up-to-date. Around 40% of people in the UK who do have a Will haven't updated it in at least five years. On top of this a further 4.5 million haven't updated a Will in more than 10 years. Wills needs to be updated whenever something significant happens in your life and if you don't do this, it may not be valid after you die.
Thousands of solicitors get involved with Will Aid every year and lend out their Will writing services in return for an optional donation to charity. This year marks the 25th year it's been running and during this time solicitors and clients have raised £13.6 million for the charities involved.
Instead of paying out the normal solicitor fees, the suggested donation figures are: £90 for a single Will, £135 for mirror Wills and £40 to change a previous Will. As the cost of a single Will normally starts from £120 for a single person and £200 for a couple, this is quite a significant saving.
The money raised is split across nine different charities including Age UK, British Red Cross, and ActionAid. In November 2012 24,000 people signed up and raised almost £2.1 million in donations.
A full list of participating solicitors can be found on the website or by calling 0300 0300 013. It’s running through the whole of November but you should act now if you want to book an appointment.
Can I do it on my own?
It’s completely legal to write up your own Will and our guide gives you all the details you need.
But this can be a bit of a hazardous process, especially if your situation isn't straightforward. As a result do-it-yourself Wills, available from high street shops such as WHSmith, can lead to problems later down the line if important things are missed out.
Generally, it needs to include details of all assets you own and all family members, including those from previous marriages. If you’ve got any complications at all in this regard, it’s much better to go down the professional route.
Any other time of the year, it’s possible to go directly through a solicitor for your Will, or you can now go through high-street chains such as the Co-operative. Last year it launched its own legal services channel and promises to write a Will in 30 minutes with prices starting at £125.