Nearly half of adults in the UK haven't written their will. There are many ways to make a will; with a lawyer, online, DIY. Each option comes with unique decisions and a price point. In this advice piece, we discuss the cheaper and in some cases free will-writing options.
One of the most common methods of writing a will is through a professional, but this can come with a significant cost. A solicitor, or will writer, will arrange a meeting and ask you a series of questions. Following this meeting, they'll draft a will for you, generally created from a standard template, and charge anywhere from £200 - £1,000 per will. In addition to this, if you ever need to update your will in the future (which is highly likely and recommended by the Government to do every five years) they may charge you for a completely new will. Fortunately, there are many alternatives if you can't afford a solicitor's bill or have simple circumstances and just want to save some money.
If you're looking to save some money and don't want to write your own will (which can come with the risks of getting it wrong), then you might want to consider writing your will online.
Writing a will online is the fastest growing way to write a will in the UK, and with current trends could be the most common way in the next 20 years. If you'd like you can test out our service and see if it's for you. Rest assured, our online will was drafted by a trained solicitor. Once you create an account with Guardian Angel, all you need to do is enter your information into our system and we produce your will. This is similar to what a will writer or solicitor does, but because we use technology the costs are substantially less.
Your will is then proofread by our team of will experts and anything that might need changing can be amended - all of this for just £90. In addition to this, when you need to change or update your will, you can simply log in and make your changes (as part of our £10 a year subscription).
You can complete your will yourself to save a bit of cost, but there are considerations to think about. It's common for people to make mistakes, such as names of people or charities being misspelt or information about assets being too vague. So be careful and be as specific as possible.
Of course, there are some basic legal requirements needed to make a will, and doing it yourself means these rest on your shoulders. For example, you must be over the age of 18 and have the mental capacity to make a will. The will also needs to be dated and witnessed correctly and must state that it replaces all previous versions (and if there are any, these should be destroyed).
Post-office will kit
This is a typical will pack, which can be purchased from the post office or a stationary shop and includes instructions and templates to write your will. We've written a detailed article on post-office wills here.
Printable UK will templates
Another way of making a DIY will is to get a hold of a template that you can print out and then fill in. These are an easy option for many, but again it's important to completely understand what you're doing. Simply filling in a will template document or pdf might not be the best idea. It's highly possible to find a template that might not match your circumstances or wishes.
In some cases, this'd mean the will may not be valid and could be contested following your death. Many people are now moving away from printable templates and completing their will online. Online will writers have specifically designed systems to personalise the will to your wishes based on the information you give them. Then all you need to do is print the will and sign it for it to be legally binding.
There are several ways to get a professional will for free. Make sure you are clear before you start and that there are no hidden costs.
Will Aid specifically partners with local will-writers and nine major UK charities. Every year in November you can get a free will through this scheme - they just ask you to consider a donation to the charity instead. The suggested donations are £100 for a single will and £180 for a pair of wills. According to Will Aid "Everyone benefits. You get a professionally drawn-up Will and peace of mind, while the charities receive much-needed donations for their vital work."
Providing you have simple circumstances, a ‘template’ will – like the kind you can in stationery shops - can provide an extremely cost-effective way to document what you want to happen to your assets after you die. However, you need to be aware that if you use a DIY will kit and your wording is incorrect or unclear, your wishes may not be fulfilled.