How to get your will written for free

And why you should make one now

Close-up Of A Person Writing Last Will and Testament

Over-55s can have a simple will made for free this month, potentially saving their nearest and dearest from hassle, arguments and big tax bills.

Getting a will drawn up by a solicitor generally costs between £100 and £200. However, October is Free Wills Month, with many solicitors around the country offering their services for free.

An astonishing 53% of Brits die without making a will, research has shown. In many cases, it's simply that they've never got round to what's likely to be an unpleasant task.

However, others simply assume that their property will go to their immediate family, and don't realise the trouble that dying intestate can cause. It can leave heirs liable for inheritance tax, and mean probate is dragged out for months.

In some cases, it can even mean that your property doesn't go to the person you'd want and expect: when Stieg Larsson, the author of The Girl who Played with Fire, died without leaving a will, his estate was inherited by his father rather than his partner.

"It's not nice to think about dying but it's going to happen one day; short of discovering the elixir of youth there's nothing you can do about it. No one likes to think about leaving their loved ones behind but life will be a lot harder for them if you don't have a will," says Hannah Maundrell, editor in chief of money.co.uk.

"It's not just the supremely wealthy that need one; everyone should have a will, even if you don't think you've got much to give. It will make your loved ones' lives a little easier at a very difficult time and put you in control of who gets the benefit of your belongings after you're gone."

To find a participating solicitor in your area, you simply need to enter your details here.

Before you book your slot, though, you'll need to make some decisions. Even if you want to leave the bulk of your property to your partner, say, you may wish to include charitable donations or leave sentimental items to other family members or friends.

If you have young children, you'll have to decide who you'd like to look after them in the event of your death - if you're unmarried, the courts will decide, and it may not be your partner.

You'll also have to think about how any money you're leaving to your children will be managed until they're old enough to do it for themselves.

Second families can also cause complications. Many people, for example, choose to arrange for a second spouse to have use of a property during their lifetime, with it reverting to children from a first marriage when the second spouse dies.

And you'll also have to think about where your assets should go if the people you most want to benefit die before you.

But, says Maundrell, "Writing a will doesn't have to cost a fortune and it won't take long. Whatever your circumstances it's definitely worth doing."


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