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Do you have a will? If not, why haven’t you done it yet?
I know what you are thinking: “A blog about estate planning? Seriously? How dull!”
But stick with me here: this post can save you hundreds of pounds.
Many of us don’t want to think about making a will because we don’t like to admit that we will all eventually die. While others don’t get a will written because they are simply worried about how much it will cost.
But a will is something you pretty much must get at some point, but if you act NOW, you can get a solicitor to sort it all out for you and it all you have to do is make a donation you can afford.
Who needs a will anyway?
It may seem obvious, but anyone with assets such as a house, savings or even a workplace life insurance scheme should have a will. But the sad fact is that about half the people who die each year do so without one. As a result, the state gets to decide who will inherit their hard-earned possessions and a huge chunk will be scooped up by the taxman.
What’s more, a will is also essential for parents with children or step-children under 18 as it is required to name legal guardians. If you are in a relationship, but are not married, you’ll need one too as the law doesn’t recognise what many of us consider “common law marriage” – so you could wind up with nothing if your partner died. While those who have been divorced may want to stipulate what happens to your assets if an ex-partner remarries.
Also, if you have a small business and you die without naming executors in your will, nobody can authorise payments (or staff wages) so your business could collapse.
In other words – pretty much everyone needs a will – and that includes you.
Bag a bargain on will writing in November – but you have to act fast
Some people who don’t like the idea of shelling out hundreds of pounds to a solicitor may be tempted to go the do-it-yourself route – but it is best to resist.
While the Wowcher offers that land in your inbox may seem like a cost-effective option at just £14, it’s very easy to make technical mistakes that could invalidate your will or lead to costly and upsetting disputes in the years ahead. If using this option, you should really have a solicitor check it through first – so you might as well have them sort the whole thing.
The good news is that during November each year thousands of solicitors across the country lend their will writing services in exchange for a donation to charity, waiving their usual fee through the Will Aid campaign.
My husband and I did our mirror wills this way a few years ago, and it saved us hundreds of pounds. What’s more, it provided us the peace of mind that our daughter would be looked after should the worst happen to us.
With the Will Aid campaign, you will get a free appointment with a solicitor, but will be asked to make a suggested donation of £95 for a single will or £150 if you and your partner or spouse opt for mirror wills. That is a huge discount on the usual fees of up to £200 for a single will or £300 for mirror wills. Bear in mind that the key word, is “suggested”, so if this is still out of your price range, you can adjust your donation to what you can afford.
To find a participating solicitor in your area, go the the online postcode search or call 0300 0309 558. Then you need to contact them direct to make an appointment for November.
But act fast! Appointments do get filled quickly, so if you leave it a few weeks, you might be too late.