Can I write a will for free?
03rd January 2019
When it comes to writing your will, you may wonder whether or not it can be done for free. Writing a will is incredibly important, there can be little doubt about that. And yet seeking professional financial advice and going through solicitors to ensure that your will is correct and viable can seem an arduous and expensive task.
If you are seeking a free alternative, there are a number of options you may be able to seek out. In this article, the IMC team take a look at what free options are available for doing so – including the will writing kits available from almost any stationery shop for under £25 – and the viability of each.
How do I do it for free?
Entitled to a free will
Some groups and organisations offer their members free will services as it is. A number of large trade unions such as the PCS, the NASUWT and Unison offer free or discounted will writing services and some employers will offer the services as part of any legal services benefits on offer.
You may also be entitled to a free will if your home or car insurance includes legal cover. Often, these wills are only suitable for simple estates, but it is certainly worth checking as you may have the opportunity to receive free legal advice at the very least.
Some charities offer free will services to UK residents, although often with a suggested donation or in the hope that you’ll leave some of your estate to charity in the will. The most popular of these schemes is Will Aid which runs throughout November, with 900 solicitors offering free wills to anyone, regardless of age. Will Aid suggests that you donate £95, but it is entirely up to you. Other schemes include Free Wills Month for over 55s and Will Relief Scotland for Scottish residents.
Individual charities including Cancer Research and The Stroke Association also offer free or discounted wills on the premise that you leave a portion of your estate to them when you die. Remember, charitable donations are inheritance tax deductible and the amount you leave is up to you.
How do I write a will without a lawyer?
DIY will kits
Do-it-yourself will kits are growing in popularity and offer a basic template that you fill in to act as your will. These DIY kits are only suitable only for the most simple wills and tend to range in price from £20 – £30. (Even in simple cases, we wouldn’t recommend using one of these.)
Writing a will by yourself puts all of the legal responsibility on your shoulders, just one tiny mistake could result in the will not being a legally binding document. Unlike many other legal documents, when it comes to dividing the assets in a will, it will be too late to clarify exactly what your wishes were. You can read about the common mistakes people make writing wills here.
Do not forget that a will is a legal document so it is certainly worth spending a little extra to give you the peace of mind that all of your wishes will be fulfilled. If you choose to do it yourself and mistakes mean that it is invalid your estate could be passed into the hands of the government over your loved ones.
Should I write my own will?
Wills are legal documents. As such, it is very important for your will to be 100% accurate. Even very small mistakes such as crossings out can make your entire invalid, leading to none of your wishes being adhered to. View a summary of the legal implications of writing a will here.
Your will should include who you would like your beneficiaries and executors to be, including their names, dates of birth and addresses. You will also want to ensure that you are aware of the value of your estate and know exactly how you intend to distribute your assets. It is important to seek out financial advice during this stage to ensure that you are fully aware of what your estate entails, as well as the monetary options open to you.
Opting for a professional will writing service can be costly, particularly if you have a complex estate involving, for instance, the distribution of businesses among your beneficiaries, or a number of beneficiaries of differing backgrounds. Despite this, if you have a reasonably straightforward estate that needs dealing with, fully certified will writing services should only set you back by around £200.
Theoretically, your will could be scribbled onto a notepad as long as two witnesses are present to watch you sign. However, there are many more aspects to the will writing process that change on a person-to-person basis. This is not recommended especially in cases when your estate is more complex than just leaving money to your spouse or an only child.
For professional and independent advice on writing your will, as well as storage of the document, don’t hesitate to get in touch today. When it comes to creating your will, our financial advisors will help you to understand the ins and outs of these often complex documents.
If you are interested in the services we have to offer, all you have to do is call 020 3761 6942 or click the link and fill in our quick and easy enquiry form.