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Every year solicitors across the country sign up to write Wills for free in November – with customers making a voluntary donation towards the work of 9 charities, via “Will Aid”. The suggested donation for a basic single Will is £100 and a pair of basic mirror Wills for a couple, £180. The scheme is run by www.willaid.org.uk. You can look on the website to find your nearest participating solicitor and book an appointment. As there are a limited number of appointments you should act quickly and book soon if you need to make a Will.
Why is it important to make a Will?
It is important to make a Will, whether or not you have many possessions or much money. There are several reasons:
* If you die without a Will, there are certain rules which determine who will inherit your money, property and possessions. This may not be the way that you would have wished your money, property and possessions to be distributed.
* Unmarried partners, and partners who have not registered a civil partnership cannot inherit from each other unless there is a Will, so the death of one partner may create serious financial problems for the remaining partner.
* If you have children, you will need to make a Will so that arrangements for the children can be made if either one or both parents die.
* It may be possible to reduce the amount of inheritance tax payable if advice is taken in advance and a Will is made.
* If you want to leave anything to relations by marriage, close friends or carers, this needs to be clearly stated in a Will.
(NOTE: Scotland has different laws on inheritance).
For more information about what happens to your money, property and possessions if you die without having made a Will, see our article on inheritance when there is no Will.
Do I need to use a solicitor?
There is no legal requirement for a Will to be drawn up or witnessed by a solicitor. However, it is generally advisable to use a solicitor, or to have a solicitor check a will you have drawn up yourself, to make sure it will have the effect you want. There are some circumstances when it is particularly advisable to use a solicitor. This is because it is easy to make mistakes and, if there are errors in the Will, this can cause problems after your death. Sorting out misunderstandings and disputes after your death may result in considerable legal costs and additional stress for your loved ones at a difficult time.
A solicitor will charge for their services in drawing up or checking a Will, so it is worth taking advantage of the free Will Aid scheme, because the voluntary donation is likely to be cheaper than the solicitor’s normal fee. 9 charities will also benefit from your donation. For more information about Will Aid see www.willaid.org.uk.
Before making a Will
Before you make your Will, you should think about a number things, such as
* How much money, property and possessions you have.
* Who you want to benefit from your Will.
* Who should look after any children under 18.
* Who is going to sort everything out and carry out your wishes as set out in your Will. (These people are known as the executors.)
For more information about how to make a Will see: our article on Wills..
Updating your Will
Once you have made a Will, it is important to review it every few years, and also update it if your circumstances change. For example, if you have separated from your partner, you may want to change your will. If you get married, or enter into a registered civil partnership, this will make any previous Will you have made invalid.
For more information about making a Will see:
For more information about Will Aid see:
Local solicitors participating in Will Aid for November 2019
Colemans Solicitors LLP
Distance: 13.6 miles
Address: 5.1 Switchback Office Park, Gardner Road, Maidenhead, SL6 7RJ
Telephone: 01628 631051
Contact: Mrs Sophie Hamilton
Barrett & Co
Distance: 15.3 miles
Address: Salisbury Hse, 54 Queens Road, Reading, RG1 4AZ
Telephone: 0118 958 9711
Contact: Ms Rebecca Rai
Dexter Montague LLP
Distance: 16.4 miles
Address: 105 Oxford Road, Reading, RG1 7UD
Telephone: 0118 939 3999
Contact: Miss Lucy Benning
Distance: 22.7 miles
Address: Austen House, (Units A-J) Station View, Guilford, GU1 4AR
Telephone: 01483 924 724/Ext 4724
Contact: Ms Stephanie Masli