When you think of October you may well think of the advent of Autumn or Halloween. You probably won’t think about Free Wills Month. But, perhaps you should. For many people it’s a great opportunity to get a legal Will drafted for free. Here’s how you can take advantage of Free Wills Month.
What’s a Will?
We’ll start with the basics. A Will is a legal document that states your wishes regarding the distribution of your property and assets. It also details the care of any minor children. If you die without a will, those wishes may not be carried out.
Your beneficiaries may also be forced to spend additional time, money, and emotional energy to settle your affairs after you’re gone. They may even need to involve lawyers and judges. This can lead to arguments and family fallouts – something I’m sure you’d want to avoid.
Why do I need a Will?
Everyone should have a Will. Even if you think you don’t have enough money or assets, you should still draft one.
While no one wants to think about passing away or leaving their loved ones behind, the worst can happen at any time. In any event, it is always best to be prepared to save additional pain and stress for your loved ones.
Your assets don’t just include the money in your bank account or any property you own. It’s all your possessions, your digital assets and any life insurance or death in service policies you may have.
Wills are even more important if you have children or dependents. Here you dictate who will look after them if anything is to happen to you.
It’s also important to make sure you update your Will after any major life event, such as marriage, divorce or having children.
What’s Free Wills Months?
Free Wills Month brings together a group of well-respected charities to offer members of the public aged 55 and over the opportunity to have their simple Wills written or updated free of charge by using participating solicitors in locations across England, Northern Ireland and Wales.
The campaign is designed to encourage more people to create a Will. It also hopes to encourage people to make charitable donations in their Wills, however there is no obligation for participants to do this.
Who can take advantage of Free Wills Month?
Free Wills Month is designed for Over 55s, so I’m aware a lot of people reading this will not be eligible.
For those that can take advantage of Free Wills Month, you simply need to register your interest via the website. You will then be emailed a list of participating solicitors in your local area, who you will be able to book an appointment with.
As you can imagine, solicitors can’t spend all their time doing pro bono work, so appointments are limited and allocated on a first come first served basis.
If you are not over 55, this doesn’t mean you can’t benefit at all. Speak to your family members and friends about drafting Wills. Making sure your parents and other loved ones are prepared can be as important as making sure you’re prepared yourself.
Are there any catches?
Broadly speaking, no. There are no catches. However, as a charitable project, those drafting a Will are encouraged to include a donation to a charity within their Will.
This is becoming a more common practice. 27 percent of those with a valid Will have now included a charitable donation, up from 21 percent in 2010, according to nfpSynergy.
The campaign also only covers the writing of ‘simple’ Wills, which is all most people need. If your Will needs some more work, the solicitor may ask you to pay the balance yourself, as complex Wills can require substantial amounts of time and work.
If you found it interesting, please like it and share across social media or send it to your friends. I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences, so please do leave a comment! Do you have a will or are you thinking of making one? I’d also love to hear if you manage to take advantage of Free Wills Month.