None of us wants to die. And most of us don’t expect to do it soon. But Covid has surely taught us that death can come quickly and unexpectedly. That is why, to protect our loved ones, we should all make a will while we have the health and mental capacity to do so.
In November, thousands of solicitors throughout the UK will draw up a will for you and charge you nothing: you are simply asked to make a donation to their Will Aid charity of £100 (or, if you’re a couple, £180 for two wills). That is very cheap for a professional will drawn up by a solicitor. You can find low cost deals from non-professionals online, but they come with no protection if things go wrong, so my advice is always use a solicitor.
Over the 33 years Will Aid has been going, it has raised £21 million for charities and helped more than 310,000 people to make a will. You can find your nearest Will Aid solicitor at willaid.org.uk. You will be asked for your name and email address, then given a list of the participating solicitors, with a button to click to contact them for an appointment. Before you go along, write down all the money, property and valuables you own and who you want them to go to.
You should also consider who will be your executors – those responsible for dealing with your affairs after you die. It’s better for them to be close family or friends who are beneficiaries, rather than professionals who will charge fees.
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If you die without making a will, your money and property will be split up according to “intestacy rules” (search at gov.uk) and you will have no control over who gets what. Basic wills leave possessions, property and money to family, friends or charities. If you want something more complex (trusts, powers of attorney, inheritance tax advice and so on), that will cost extra – but the basic fee will still go to charity.
Paul Lewis presents Money Box on Radio 4