Many people put off writing a will. Recent research suggests that over half of all UK adults don’t have a will. This can lead to all sorts of problems for your loved ones in the future if you die without a valid will.
You know it’s a sensible thing to do, but one of the reasons people put it off is the cost. Getting legal advice can be an expensive process.
Good news! You can write a will by yourself. You don’t need a solicitor to help you make your will. With the cost of living ever increasing, this means you can save time and money and find an affordable solution that suits you and your family.
Using a lawyer to write your will
This could be a good option for you if you have a complex financial or family situation. You might want to get legal advice to make your will if:
- you have foreign property (including property in different UK jurisdictions)
- you own a business that you want to leave in your will
- you have a complex family arrangement such as ex partners
- you want to minimise Inheritance Tax
When choosing a lawyer to draft your will, make sure that they specialise in wills and probate and belong to a professional body such as the Law Society.
Bear in mind that getting a solicitor to make your will is the most expensive option, and if your financial situation is simple then there’s no reason to spend lots of money on expensive legal costs. If you choose to have a solicitor as the executor of your will, then their charges could be quite steep and their costs are payable from the estate.
There are a range of options to help you create a valid will. There should be one that will suit every family and every financial situation.
What options are available for making a will without a lawyer?
Although you might think you have to use a lawyer to write your will, you might be surprised to find that there are number of affordable alternatives. There might even be some free options that suit you.
Here are a few options if you don’t want to use a solicitor to draft your will.
- Professional will writers
- Trade Unions
- Insurance providers
- DIY wills
Use a professional will writer to prepare your will
Professional will writers take your instructions – online or face to face – about what you wish to happen to your assets after you die. When they are satisfied that they understand your wishes, they will draft your will and send it to you to approve. It is a cheaper way to create a legally binding will than using a solicitor, but you need to be aware that although will writers have some training, they are not necessarily legally qualified. It’s worth checking whether the will-writing service is a member the Institute of Professional Will writers or the Society of Will writers.
Charities may provide free legal advice and draft your will
Some charities offer to draft your will for free in return for a charitable donation, although there is no obligation to make a donation. So, if you want to leave a gift in your will to a charity, this could be a cheap option for you. Some charities have a partnership with solicitors and at certain times of year they will write your will for free for a donation, so look out for these offers.
Banks may have a will-writing service
Some banks offer free legal advice. Some also have will-writing services, but these might be expensive. The bank might also try and persuade you that you need to appoint the bank as an executor, but it is not necessary to have a professional as an executor.
Trade unions could write your will for free
If you belong to a trade union, they may be able to help you write a will for free. If you do belong to a trade union, then it’s worth checking to see if they offer a free will-writing service.
Check whether you have legal cover with your home insurance
If you’ve opted to have legal cover with your home insurance, then it’s possible that it includes a will-writing service. Get in touch with your insurance provider to check what they include.
DIY wills are a cost-effective way to make a will
Using a DIY will template can be a cost-effective solution to writing a will without a lawyer. If you have a straightforward financial situation then you don’t need a lawyer to write your will. You can use an online template to create your will or you can get guidance from a book and draft your own. There are many providers for you to choose from online that can provide you with a template will that should suit any budget.
Writing your own will allows you to explain exactly what assets you are leaving and to whom in an easy-to-understand manner. It is well worth the minimal investment, should you not have the funds to use a lawyer to prepare your will.
However, if you use the wrong wording then your wishes could be misinterpreted, so it’s a good idea to use a template with standard sections and legal terms.
Are there any disadvantages to writing a will without a lawyer?
Writing a will without a lawyer is probably not for you if you have a complex financial or family situation. If you would appreciate a bit more hand-holding when making a will, then making a DIY will may not be for you. If you’re not confident about conveying your wishes, then perhaps you will need a little more help.
If you’re going to make a valid will without a lawyer then you do need to make sure you know about the legal requirements otherwise you could make costly mistakes. So, it’s definitely worth doing your research first. The Citizens Advice website and the UK government website should provide you with some basic guidance on what you must include in your DIY will.
A cost-effective DIY solution: Lawpack’s Last Will & Testament Kit
For nearly 20 years, Lawpack has proved you can write your own will without it being expensive. Lawpack’s Last Will & Testament Kit gives you the confidence and the tools to follow straightforward steps to make a valid will without the need for legal advice.
Lawpack’s Last Will & Testament Kit has been approved by a solicitor and will provide you with all the information you need to make a valid will. There is a step-by-step solicitor-approved Guidance manual on writing a will and a choice of three ready-to-complete forms for use in England & Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland.
This DIY Kit is a good option for those who want to write their own will and need a bit of extra legal guidance, but can’t afford to use a lawyer to help them write their will.