Free Will is no illusion - October free Wills month
Solicitors are offering to draw up your will for just a donation to charity. But act now, says Paul Lewis!
Throughout November, hundreds of solicitors across the UK will draw up a will for you without charging. All they ask is for the client to make a donation to the charities they sponsor, through a scheme called Will Aid: a donation of £100 is recommended, or £180 for a pair of matching wills for a couple. This is a fraction of the normal fee, but Will Aid has raised £21 million for charity since it started more than 30 years ago. If you have complex affairs, or a great deal to leave, you may be charged extra – but there will be no charge for the basic parts of the will.
Six out of ten adults do not have a will. That proportion falls as people get older, but death can come at any time and adults with dependants or money or property to leave should make one. A will is the only way you can ensure that whatever you own goes where you want. It is especially important if you live with a partner you are not married to. If you die without a will they will get nothing, however long you have lived together. Even a spouse or civil partner will not get everything under what are called the laws of intestacy. If you have no relatives at all then your estate will go to the Crown – which means the King or the Prince of Wales, depending where you die.
A will becomes invalid in England, Wales and Northern Ireland if you marry or get civil partnered after making it, so it’s vital to make a fresh one. That does not happen in Scotland but it’s still sensible to make a new will for your new circumstances.
To get the free will, go to willaid.org.uk and book online; act soon, as slots go quickly. There is a useful will planner online to help you prepare for the meeting, and your will is drawn up by a qualified lawyer so there is a compensation scheme if they get things wrong. That is much safer than using a form you download from the internet or an unregulated will writer you find through Google.
QUESTIONS? Send any questions to Paul.Lewis@radiotimes.com. Paul cannot answer you personally, but will reflect them in his column