Writing a will is vital if you want peace of mind that your estate will go to who you want it to when you die, and the good news is that this month you can get yours done for free.
March is ‘Free Wills Month’, where those aged 55 and over can get a will professionally written or updated free of charge by a solicitor. Here’s what you need to know.
How come I can get a will written for free?
Free Wills Month is run with the support of a group of charities including the National Trust, mental health charity Mind and Diabetes UK. The charities involved hope that by encouraging people to use the free will service, when they write their wills, they might decide to leave a donation to a charitable cause that is important to them.
Do I have to include a donation to charity when I write my will?
It’s not compulsory to leave anything to charity if you decide to get a will drawn up during Free Wills Month, but you will be asked by the solicitor you use whether there’s a particular cause you might like to help.
It’s worth bearing in mind that if you do opt to make a charitable donation, this might have financial benefits for you as well as the charity. For example, it could help you reduce any potential Inheritance Tax bill when you die, as donations made to charity are exempt from IHT. If you leave at least 10% of your estate to charity, any remaining IHT you could be liable for will be reduced from 40% to 36%.
How do I sign up for Free Wills Month?
To take part in Free Wills Month, you need to submit your details on the Free Wills Month website. You’ll then be offered access to details of local participating solicitors who you can contact directly to arrange a time to write your will.
You must be 55 or older to qualify and if you’re in a couple and want to make ‘mirror’ wills only one of you needs to be 55 or older.
If your circumstances are particularly complex, and a simple will won’t be sufficient to record all your wishes, you may be asked to pay for any extra work involved, but your solicitor will let you know these charges at the outset. A simple will is usually sufficient for the vast majority of people.
Although Free Wills Month lasts for the whole of March, don’t leave it to the last minute if you want to use the scheme. Participating solicitors will only have a limited number of appointments to write free wills available, so you should act sooner rather than later or you could risk missing out.