If you’re aged 55 or over and don’t have a will, you can get one written by a solicitor for free this October.
October is Free Wills Month, when charities band together to offer people the chance to have their will written or updated free of charge. The aim is that those who use the service may decide to leave a gift to one of the participating charities, which include the NSPCC, the British Heart Foundation, the National Trust, Mind, and the Dogs Trust.
Even though dying without a will could mean your loved ones don’t get what you want them to, more than half of adults in the UK haven’t written one, according to research carried out by Royal London. Of those that have, six in ten people haven’t reviewed their will in over a year, while three in ten have left it more than five years.
Emma Watson, Head of Financial Planning at Rathbone Investment Management comments: “It’s hard to imagine - let alone plan for - a future that you’re not in, but spending time now considering what you would want for your family can save a great deal of heartache for them in the future. Of course, this sort of preparation does nothing to protect you against the worst happening, but it can make sure that if disaster strikes your family, they don’t have legal and financial troubles at a time when they will be least able to deal with them.”
If you’ve got a DIY will, it’s an especially good idea to review it, as often these can lead to family disputes if they haven’t been drawn up correctly.
We’ve teamed up with Age Partnership who understand the importance of ensuring that your loved ones are provided for - Wills find out more
Formal requirements for making a will are that it must be made in writing, and signed by the person making it in the presence of two witnesses, who must also sign the will.
Clare Moffat, pensions and legal expert a Royal London said: “The law is complex and if you aren’t familiar with the process and terminology of writing a will, it’s all too easy to invalidate it or leave it open to challenge.
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“Family structures are increasingly complicated, which in turn comes with challenging financial arrangements. So, it’s more important than ever to make sure your will is legally correct.”
Remember that if your circumstances have changed since you wrote your will, it may no longer be valid. For example, when you get married, your will is automatically revoked, so you need to prepare a new one. If you’re divorced, however, your existing will remains valid, although your former spouse will have been removed from the will completely when your decree absolute came through.
If you want to write or review a will, you can find participating charities and solicitors near you by entering your name, postcode and email address on the Free Wills Month website. Bear in mind that appointments are allocated on a first come first served basis, and once they are all filled, no more will be available even if it’s before the end of the month.