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Charity Focus: What is Free Wills Month?

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You still have plenty of time to benefit from March 2019’s Free Wills Month. It’s a win-win deal – you get your will written for free, while helping charities raise crucial funds.

How does it work?

Free Wills Month brings together a number of UK charities and solicitors. Members of the public can get their wills updated or written, by participating solicitors, for free. The charities pay their fee in the hope that people will leave some money to them in their will.

Why are charities paying people’s legal fees?

Did you know that over half of most charities’ income is from legacy payments? Leaving a gift in your will to a charity that is important to you doesn’t cost you anything. And it means the world to those the charity supports:

These are only three of the many participating charities.

Who is eligible?

The Free Wills Month scheme is open to:

  • Individuals aged 55 years old and over
  • Couples who would like ‘mirror’ wills, where at least one is 55 years old

You can take along an existing will for an update, or the participating solicitor will write you a ‘simple’ will from scratch.

Do I have to leave a donation to charity in a will written for me during Free Wills Month?

No, you are under no obligation to leave money to charity in your free will. This is not part of the eligibility requirements. The solicitor you speak to can only create a will based on your wishes.

What kind of will can I get?

The mutual agreement between the Free Wills Month campaign and the participating solicitors is that only ‘simple’ wills are included in the scheme. The meaning of ‘simple will’ is defined by the legal professional you speak to.  But the majority of individuals and couples only need a ‘simple’ will. If, during your conversation with a solicitor, it becomes apparent that you need a more complex document, you will have the opportunity to pay the difference yourself.

How does the process work?

The Free Wills Month offer is only open during March. If you would like a free will, you need to find a participating solicitor, like our member Sally Cox, of Cox and Key Solicitors.

You can use this form on the Free Wills Month website, or just call your local solicitor and ask them if they are taking part in the scheme.

Then you just give them a phone and arrange an appointment, making sure to mention that you are interested as a participant in Free Wills Month. The participating solicitors set aside a number of appointments as ‘Free Wills Month’ meetings for the whole of March. This means that they may have used up all of these appointments before the end of the month.

Why do I need a will?

Lots of people think that you need to have a lot of money or large estate in order to really need a will. But, even in the simplest of financial circumstances, setting out your wishes in a legally binding document really benefits your loved ones after you’ve gone. You have the peace of mind that things are laid out the way you want. And they don’t have to try and second guess your wishes, or dispute matters amongst themselves.

As Sally explains: “In order to reduce the emotional stress associated with having to deal with such matters following bereavement, and to ensure that your affairs are handled in the way you would have wished, we stress that early planning is essential. Accidents and unforeseen illness and death in themselves can be disastrous; even more so when there is no will in place.”

“Regardless of your age, status or the size of your estate, we will be happy to discuss the most appropriate options, from a simple will to highly detailed trusts, and help you and your family achieve peace of mind for the future.”

And, with a gift to a special charity written into your will, you know you’re still doing good in the world.

Photo by Melinda Gimpel on Unsplash

Alison Neal

Alison Neal

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