If you're over 55 and have yet to make a will, or you've got one but it needs amending, this month is Free Wills Month meaning you can get this service carried out for free.
The scheme, which takes place every March and October, is backed by charities, so be prepared for your solicitor to ask if you'd like to leave a donation to a chosen cause when you die, although you're under no obligation to do so (see our Cheap and Free Wills guide for help getting a good deal).
Here's a Q&A of with everything you need to know.
Do I need a will?
The short answer is yes. All sorts of problems can arise if a person dies will-less including family arguments over possessions, unmarried couples who aren't properly recognised by the law, and custodial issues for children under 18.
Having a will is an effective way of making sure your assets are handled and distributed in the way you want when you die.
Do I qualify for Free Wills Month?
The Free Wills Month campaign is only available for people aged 55 and over. However, if you're younger you can take part in a different scheme, Will Aid, which we explain below.
Which towns and cities are participating in Free Wills Month?
The towns and cities taking part in Free Wills Month vary each time the campaign runs. Here's the full list of those taking part this time round:
Bolton, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cardiff, Chelmsford, Cheltenham/Gloucester, Chester/North Wales, Colchester, Cornwall, Derby, Exeter, Huddersfield, Ipswich, Lancaster, Leeds, Leicester, Lincolnshire, Milton Keynes, Norwich, Nottingham, Plymouth, Preston Stoke-on-Trent, Shropshire, Stockport, Swansea, Torquay and Wakefield.
How do I take part in Free Wills Month?
Visit the Free Wills Month website during October and enter your postcode. You'll be given a list of participating solicitors close to you, which you can choose from to arrange an appointment.
Once you've got an appointment, you need to download and complete a free 'Wills guide' document from the website and take it to your appointment.
Is there a catch?
Solicitors usually charge up to £150 to write a will, although it can cost more for more complex ones.
This fee is waived during Free Wills Month because the campaign is backed by charities. The hope is you'll leave a donation to a chosen cause when you die instead. You're under no obligation to do so, but it may be something you wish to consider.
MoneySavingExpert.com's money analyst, Helen Saxon, says: "The idea of most of these schemes is not that people save a lot of money over what they normally would, it's that the money benefits charities rather than the solicitor, as solicitors are giving their time for free."
I'm not eligible for Free Wills Month, what can I do?
If you're too young to take part in Free Wills Month or don't live near enough to one of the participating solicitors, you can take part in a similar UK-wide scheme called Will Aid.
This runs every November, and there's no age requirement or set fee required to take part. Will Aid does however hope you'll donate £90 for a single will or £135 if you're a couple, which is then split between various UK charities.
Even though it's still October, you can book a Will Aid appointment now. Here's how:
- Enter your postcode on the Will Aid website or phone 0300 0300 013 to find the nearest participating solicitor.
- Choose a solicitor from the list and ring to book an appointment in November, stating that you're calling as part of the Will Aid scheme.
- Either donate via the Will Aid website before your appointment and take a copy of the receipt, or donate at the solicitors.