March is Free Wills Month

    Couple in a meeting with a professional

    What is Free Wills Month?
    Free Wills Month is a campaign that aims to help charities while encouraging more people to get their will written up – or altered if your circumstances have changed. It’s a good reminder to write a will if you haven’t already, or update your current one if you haven’t in the past 5 years.

    How do I take part in Free Wills Month?
    Contact a participating solicitor to request an appointment. Although it’s worth noting that appointments come on a first-come, first-served basis.

    Find a participating solicitor via the Free Wills Month website

    What’s the criteria to take part in Free Wills Month?
    The campaign is open to anyone aged 55 or over who would like to have a simple and straightforward will drawn up. In the case of couples writing ‘mirror’ wills, only one of the two should be 55 years old or older.

    Why is it free?
    It’s hoped that participants will donate to one of the many deserving charities involved with the campaign – but this donation is 100% voluntary. You can choose which charity you’d like to donate to. The charities include:

    • Lifeboats
    • Marie Curie Cancer Care
    • Age UK
    • Pet charity Blue Cross
    • NSPCC
    • National Trust
    • Dogs Trust
    • The armed forces charity SSAFA
    • Mental health charity Mind
    • Diabetes UK
    • Redwings Horse Sanctuary
    • Breast Cancer Now

    What should I do if I need a more complicated will written up?
    Free Wills Month is an excellent opportunity to get a simple will or pair of mirror wills drawn up. If you want something more complicated you can still take part, but your solicitor may ask you to pay for the extra work. However, most people will only require a simple will.

    Why is having a will important?
    According to IFA database Unbiased, 60% of UK adults don’t have a will. If someone dies without a will, this is called dying intestate and can cause huge difficulties for their loved ones.

    People often assume that if they’re married their loved one will automatically inherit their assets, but unfortunately it’s not always as simple as that.

    What happens if you die intestate?
    Dying intestate risks your estate being cut up and distributed against your wishes. Without a will, the law decides who gets what.

    For example, say you’re married, or in a civil partnership, and have two children. If you die intestate then your estate (up to the value of £250,000) will be split in half, with one half going to your husband, wife or civil partner and the other half going to your children.

    However, any lifelong partners or cohabiting couples who are not married or in partnerships, will often be left unable to inherit anything. Ex-spouses do not receive anything under the intestacy rules of England and Wales.

    What are the benefits of writing a will?

    • Help reduce inheritance tax
    • Provide for dependents, such as children and grandchildren
    • Less hassle and stress for your loved ones at an already difficult and upsetting time.

    Find out more about the benefits of writing a will

    Why is it important to keep your will up to date?
    Even if you already have a will it’s important to keep it up to date. This is also free of charge during Free Wills Month – with participating solicitors.

    Gov.co.uk recommends you review your will every 5 years (or if your executor dies) and alter it to take into account any major life changes, such as:

    • having a child
    • moving house
    • getting married (this voids any previous wills)

    Find out more about Free Wills Month

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