Will Aid: how it works and how to make a Will

Why do I need to make a Will in the first place?

If you want to avoid problems dealing with your estate when you pass away, it's essential to plan for it now. Without a valid your assets may not end up with the intended beneficiaries, so writing a will is about protecting loved ones, making sure they receive exactly what is intended for them and ultimately achieving control over your finances, even when you are no longer around.

What happens if I don't make a Will?

Without a will your estate will be divided according to rules laid down by the taxman, which might not be quite what you intended. These rules, known as the 'rules of intestacy', take into account your circumstances when sharing out your estate. Click here for more on how the State will divide up your assets.

How do I go about making a Will, then?

There are a number of ways to write a will , some cheap and some more expensive. At the cheapest end are the DIY will kits, costing around £10. These are fine if your situation is totally straightforward but can still cause problems – especially if they aren't witnessed properly. For greater peace of mind, it's worth seeing a professional will writer or solicitor.

How much will it cost?

How much you pay to get your will written will depend on the complexity of your circumstances and who writes it for you, but you can generally expect to pay anything from £50 to £1,000 or more.

What is Will Aid?

Will Aid is an annual fundraising campaign involving nine of the UK's leading charities. With the support of solicitors who donate their skills, consumers are able to have their Will drawn up by a qualified professional solicitor whilst at the same time supporting charity. Since being founded in 1988, Will Aid has enabled legal firms to raise over £13 million for nine of the UK's favourite charities but, just as importantly, Will Aid has enabled over 250,000 people to write their Will.

How much does Will Aid cost?

Participating solicitors draw up a basic Will for clients without charging their usual fee. Instead, they invite their clients to make a donation to Will Aid. The suggested donation is just £90 for a basic single Will or £135 for basic mirror Wills. Donations are then shared amongst the nine Will Aid charities to help people in need in the UK and around the world.

How does Will Aid work?

You simply search for a solicitor at the Will Aid website (www.willaid.org.uk) and arrange for a meeting. However, before you do that, you should prepare for your meeting by using a Will planner; you can download one from Will Aid and fill it in prior to your meeting.

What is a Will planner?

A Will planner has fields for you to write in your personal details, plus details of your major assets (property, cars, cash, investments, insurance and pensions, for example) as well as any debt owed. You can also jot down your thoughts about who the beneficiaries should be. Then you take your Will planner to your solicitor and he/she will help draw up your Will formally.

Do I need to update my Will?

Yes. It's also important to review your will regularly. At a minimum, you should check it every five years but also revise it if your circumstances change – for example, you get divorced, have a child or inherit a large amount of money. Also, if you marry, your will is revoked, so you'll need to write a new one.

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Getting a will done for all your physical assets is very important but today we have a lot of digital assets that are not covered in wills e.g. photos stored online, social media profiles etc. When you are writing your will it is worth thinking about how you are going to handle those things, either writing down account details in a secure place or using services like Angel Alerts, Legacy Locker or Last Pass.