Caring for one another

Writing a Will Part 4: DIY Wills vs. Using a Solicitor

On Wed, 2 November, 2016 - 13:43
The Abhayaratna Trust's picture
The Abhayaratna...

The cost of making a will can be off-putting. Writing your own will may be an appealing option; however it is generally advised against, as any mistakes can cause confusion and be costly down the line.

If your will is very straightforward (e.g.  if you are married and simply want to leave everything to your partner) then you might wish to look into the option of writing it yourself. There are plenty of templates available for writing your own will.

Another option might be using a will writing service, which is less expensive than using a solicitor but can provide some extra guidance. Some services provide the option to have an expert legal review. Do your research, and go with a service governed by a regulatory body.

Certain legal requirements must be followed to make the document valid. It must be signed, dated and witnessed by two independent witnesses.  Be sure to use people’s full names (and spell them correctly!). It must be safely stored – some online services do this for you, but it is a good idea to have a printed copy and to let your executor know where it is being kept.

Using a solicitor is the most expensive option; but if your will is complex, or you will value the peace of mind knowing your will has been professionally drawn up, then it may be worth the money. There are some great options for keeping the cost down:

  • October is Free Wills Month, offering people over 55 the opportunity to have their wills written or updated for free. The hope is that you will make a donation, or leave a gift in your will, to one of the Free Will Month charities.
  • The charity Will Aid runs a campaign each November, and offers you the chance to make a donation to one of the nine participating charities instead of paying the solicitors fee. The suggested donation for a basic will is £95. Will Relief Scotland runs on a similar basis each September in Scotland.
  • If you are a member of a Trade Union it is worth checking out if they offer will writing services.

Deciding to write your own will can be risky, so do make sure to do your research on the subject – here are some resources that might be useful:

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Padmavajri's picture

I’ve recently discovered that Age UK offer a free will writing service if you are over 60.