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How to make a will for free

Find out how to cut costs when drawing up your will, including charities that offer free will-writing services.

In this article
How much should a will cost? Charity-backed will-writing schemes When are offers available?
Leaving a gift to charity What if I'm not eligible? Can I make my own will for free?

How much should a will cost?

This depends on how complicated your estate is. 

If your affairs are complex, you could spend more than £500 creating a specialist will. 

However, most people only need a simple will. These normally cost £100 or more to make, whether you're using a solicitor, will writer or bank. But it doesn't have to cost you anything.

Use this guide to find out how to get a simple will written for free, as well as other options for cutting costs.

Charity-backed will-writing schemes

Many charities provide free will-writing services. Through these schemes, a solicitor will write or update your will and the charity will cover their fees. In exchange, it's recommended you leave a gift to the charity in your will – although you don't have to. 

Below are some of the charities that will help you make a free will. 

 

Cancer Research UK

 

Who's eligible? Anyone over the age of 18.

When is it? All year.

Who writes the will? One of Cancer Research UK's partnered solicitors. If you're a supporter based in England or Wales, you can also choose to create the will online with Farewill or over the phone with Co-op Legal Services. 

How do I contact them? You can check out the service online or give their team a call on 0300 123 7733. 

What does the charity do? Researches the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of cancer.

 

The Stroke Association

 

Who's eligible? People over the age of 60 or stroke survivors over 18.

When is it? All year.

Who writes the will? Participating solicitors across the UK and in parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland.

How do I contact them? You can request a free will pack online or call their legacies team on 020 7566 1505.

What does the charity do? Funds research into the prevention and treatment of strokes. 

 

 

Marie Curie

 

Who's eligible? Anyone over the age of 18.

When is it? All year.

Who writes the will? Participating solicitors across the UK. If you live in England or Wales, you can write your will online with Farewill, or with Bequeathed if you live in Northern Ireland.

How do I contact them? You can find out more about the scheme and fill in their online form here

What does the charity do? Provides care and support to people living with a terminal illness.

 

Macmillan Cancer Support

 

Who's eligible? Anyone over the age of 18.

When is it? All year.

Who will write the will? You choose from a list of solicitors who will write your will online, through the post, over the phone, face-to-face at home or in branch. Not all options are available in all parts of the UK.

How do I contact them? You can sign up for the service through the form on their website or by calling 0300 1000 200.

What does the charity do? Supports people living with cancer.

 

 

These are just a few examples. More than 100 charities are part of the National Free Wills Network offering free wills. So if there’s a charity close to your heart, it’s worth checking online to see whether they’re a member.

Remember these schemes only cover simple wills. If you use one of these schemes and your will is more complicated than expected, you may need to pay extra. 

When are offers available?

In addition to these will-writing schemes, there are some that run every year but for a limited time.

  • March and October: Free Wills Month runs twice a year. During March and October, anyone aged 55 or over can have a free will drawn up by a solicitor in exchange for a charitable donation. If making mirror wills, just one of you needs to be 55 or over. Appointments with solicitors are limited and served on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • September: Will Relief Scotland is a partnership between Scottish solicitors and four charities: Blythswood Care, EMMS International, MAF and Signpost International. 
  • November: Will Aid is a partnership between solicitors and nine UK charities. The list of participating solicitors goes live on 1 September. It's recommended you book an appointment early to secure a place.

Leaving a gift to charity

Leaving a charitable legacy is a great way to support a cause you care about. And there are other benefits as well. 

The standard inheritance tax rate is 40% for an estate worth more than £325,000. By donating 10% or more of your estate to a UK-registered charity, you can reduce this to 36%.

You may not feel comfortable leaving a donation this large. In that case, consider leaving a pecuniary gift – a sum of money – or a specific legacy gift, which is a named item such as a painting. 

If you'd like to cover the cost of the will-writing service but you're unsure how much to donate, bear in mind that the solicitors’ fees are likely cost at least £100.

What if I'm not eligible?

If you’re not eligible for the scheme you’re interested in, you may want to consider some of your other options for getting a free or low-cost will. 

Trade union membership 

If you’re a member of a trade union, you could get your will written for free. 

Unison, the National Education Union and the Public and Commercial Services Union are among those that partner with solicitors to provide members with a free will-writing service.

Which? Wills

Online will-writing services tend to be cheaper than hiring a solicitor. You can create a will with Which? for as little as £99.

With our Review Service, you can also get it checked for errors by one of our wills specialists. 

  • Are you making a will? If you want support, you can make your will, have it reviewed and get it delivered to your door by Which? Wills, and until 30 November you can get 30% off.

Can I make my own will for free?

Another way to cut costs is to make a DIY will. Templates for DIY wills can be downloaded online or found in most stationery shops. They usually cost between £10 and £30.

You should only write your own will if your estate is simple. Even then, it's very easy to make technical mistakes that can invalidate your will.

Here are a few things to remember when writing your own will: 

  • The language has to be clear so that your instructions can be followed properly.
  • You must remember all the assets you have.
  • However some assets – such as jointly owned assets or certain types of pensions – can't be included in the will. 
  • Your will has to be witnessed. In England and Wales, you must have two witnesses over 18. In Scotland, you need one over 16.
  • You should review your will after a significant life event, such as the birth of a child or a divorce. 

For more information, read our guide on how to make a will.

If you need any more guidance about wills, get in touch with one of our wills experts.

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