3 Ways to Make a Will for Free
Is the cost of making a Will putting you off?
There are still a lot of people who haven’t made a Will. If you’re one of them, what’s the reason for the delay?
For some people, it’s the thought of the expense that puts them off. If cost really is an issue there may be a solution…
Here are some ways to make a Will for free
#1. Charity Will Campaigns
There are quite a number of charity-led Will writing schemes you can use to make a Will for free. Some are run by individual local charities and others are national campaigns run on behalf of groups of well-known charities.
Most of the charity Will writing schemes offer the opportunity to make a Will for free through a local solicitor. In return the charities hope that people using the scheme leave a gift to charity in their Wills.
Limits on numbers of Wills
Many of the charity schemes put restrictions on the number of Wills that can be made during their campaign. This is because they have a limited budget to allocate to free Will campaigns – bear this in mind if you decide to use a free Will scheme run by a charity. If they hit their target before the end of the campaign the charity may decide to pull the free Will offer early.
If the campaign only runs for a short period of time (typically the campaigns are a week or a month in length) you need to get in quick and book your appointment fast.
Restrictions on who can use the scheme
Most charities impose age restrictions, typically it’s a minimum age of 55 years. In the case of a couple it’s usually fine if at least one person meets the age qualification. Remember to check with the charity campaign organisers that you qualify if there are any restrictions.
#2 The National Free Wills Network
Another similar way to make a Will for free is through the National Free Wills Network. The Network runs a free Will scheme but the main difference is that it runs all year.
The scheme is managed on behalf of over 45 national charities. You must be a member of one of the participating charities in order to make a Will for free using the scheme. In other words, the charities only offer this scheme to people who have already proved they are active supporters of one of the charities in the Network.
To request a free Will through the National Free Wills Network you must approach the charity you support. If you qualify, the charity will send you details of how to get your Will written by a fully qualified solicitor who specialises in Wills and inheritance law.
“We’ve been members of the National Free Wills Network for some time now and if you live in the Nottinghamshire area Barker Evans is on the list of approved solicitors.”
How does the scheme work?
If you only need a basic Will it’s provided free of charge. If you need something more involved than a basic Will you can ask for a quotation for the extra work involved.
Book an appointment with your chosen solicitor and be prepared at the meeting to have a detailed discussion about your assets, your family, your choice of executors, funeral wishes, arrangements for pets and much more. This will help your solicitor to give you the advice you need and to get you the Will that’s best for you and your family.
You will be asked if you would like to make a gift in your Will to the charity so do think about this in advance. It’s the reason why the charities behind the National Free Wills Network are involved. They need legacy gifts to guarantee their future work.
#3 Will templates
Another way to make a Will for free is to do it yourself using a template. It’s possible either to download a template from a website or use a pre-printed form you can get from somewhere such as the Post Office.
The only advantage of making a Will this way is that it’s free or virtually free – it’s the ONLY advantage.
Unless you have absolutely no other option available to you think very carefully before making your Will using a template. It’s potentially a very risky way to make a Will.
It’s so easy to make mistakes when using a Will template. The instructions, if any, that come with the template are usually so general and vague as to be almost useless as a guide.
Unless you are very familiar with inheritance law and are up to date on the latest tax rules you can unwittingly put something in or leave something out of the Will that can make a crucial difference.
In all the years that I’ve been working as a qualified lawyer dealing with Wills and probate I have seen quite a number of Wills made this way – and not with good results!
“I’ve yet to see a DIY Will made using a template form that didn’t result in serious problems for the deceased person’s family.” – Rosamund Evans, solicitor
Here’s are some tips if you want to make a Will for free
- Free Will campaigns run by charities are usually restricted by age, time or number of Wills so check with the charity first;
- Free Will schemes only cater for basic Wills, if you need something more there may be a charge;
- You might need to be a member of one of the charities to qualify for a free Will;
- Using a Will template may be free or very cheap but is also very risky;
- You may need advice on other related issues such as second families, care fees planning, inheritance tax, jointly owned property, gifts to family members or business ownership
- Keep in touch with us to make sure you get notified of about charity free Will campaigns.
Get in touch to find out more about how we can help you keep the cost of making a Will down – fill out the form below and we’ll send you a link to our Will Information pack.