What you need to do
If you follow the steps you will have a will sorted in 10 minutes or will have at least set the wheels in motion so that a solicitor will sort it for you.
Step 1 - (TIME TO COMPLETE - 30 SECONDS)
Use this simple tool which quickly tells you how your estate will be divided if you don't have a will. If you are happy with how your estate would be divided and you don't have children then you don't necessarily need a will. In this case, retake the Money MOT and update your answer to say you don't have a will but you are happy with this. If, however, you are unhappy with how your estate would be divided or you have children then go to the next step
Step 2 - (TIME TO COMPLETE - 10 MINS)
Now choose one of the following routes to sort out your will:
- If your affairs are fairly straightforward then there are numerous online companies which offer will writing services. Farewill is the UK’s number 1 will writer, as voted by its customers with a Trustpilot rating of 4.9 out of 5. Farewill's online questionnaire asks you a series of questions and produces a will, checked by experts, which you simply print off and sign. You can get £10 off the price off a will by taking advantage of this Farewill offer (TIME TO COMPLETE - 10 - 15 MINS).
- If your affairs are complex (maybe you own a business) or you are not a British Citizen then seek the advice of a solicitor. When my personal affairs became more complex and I launched my own business this is the route that I subsequently took. Below are the 4 steps that I followed to set the wheels in motion to sort mine and my wife's wills. Go to the vouchedfor website and:
- enter your postcode
- select 'legal adviser' from the drop-down and click search
- on the next page select 'wills and probate' and then 'Making or changing a Will' from the tick boxes
- click on the contact button for one of the top-rated solicitors. You can then read reviews from verified customers and send a message asking them to get in touch. (TIME TO COMPLETE 3 MINS)
Why should you make a will?
If you die without making a will you are deemed to have died ‘intestate’ and your estate is distributed in accordance with the law of the land which is unlikely to be exactly how you would have wished it. There are a number of other reasons to make a will, such as:
- 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 tax payable on the inheritance (IHT) if advice is taken in advance and a will is made.
- if your circumstances have changed, it’s important that you make a will to ensure that your money and possessions are distributed according to your wishes. For example, if you have separated and your ex-partner now lives with someone else, you may want to change your will. If you remarry or enter into a registered civil partnership, this will make any previous will you may have made invalid.
How much does it cost?
Cost is determined by who writes your will (i.e. a solicitor or a website) and how complex it is. But as a guide, a simple will for one person will cost you about £90 online. Obviously, if your affairs are complex you would need to seek the advice of a solicitor, as described above, which will cost £250 and upwards depending on how complex your affairs are.
So how exactly will your estate be distributed if you die and don’t have a will in place?
The HMRC website has a handy interactive tool which will tell you how your estate will be distributed, based on your circumstances, if you die without a will. Obviously, if you are happy with how your estate would be distributed, according to the laws of intestacy, and you do not want to nor need to mitigate against IHT, or have children, you may not want to make a will.
Looking for a financial adviser near you?
Do you need financial advice? An independent financial adviser can show you how to make the most
of your money. Find your nearest qualified and regulated adviser using this VouchedFor search tool.
Alternatively, Hargreaves Lansdown, one of the UK’s largest firms providing restricted financial advice, is offering a £200 John Lewis voucher* to new clients.