Cheapest way to update a will
It is recommended that if you have written a will then you should review your will every 5 years. Reviewing a will makes sure that the contents still reflect your wishes regarding how your estate is passed on after your death.
Reviewing your will is especially important if one or more of these events have occurred
- separation or divorce
- marriage (this cancels any will made prior to marriage)
- new child
- moved house
- if an executor of the current will has died
Reviewing a will is quite simple and doesn't have to cost much. Simply follow the process detailed below.
Step 1 - Review your inheritance tax liability
It is a mistaken assumption that you need to be wealthy to incur an inheritance tax liability. With asset prices (such as houses) rising much faster than the inheritance tax free allowance you could now face a potential inheritance tax (IHT) liability that didn't exist when you wrote your original will. If your taxable estate exceeds the nil rate band of 325,000 (2015/16 tax year) then everything over this amount is taxed at 40%. Therefore it's important that when you update your will you take suitable measures to reduce any potential IHT bill so that more of your assets avoid the clutches of the tax man. I therefore suggest you firstly use this brilliant free inheritance tax calculator to work out if you have an inheritance tax liability.
Step 2 - Research how to reduce your inheritance tax liability
If you find you do have an inheritance tax liability then here is a Free guide to eliminating inheritance tax.
I highly recommend this guide as it contains:
- The simple steps to cut your inheritance tax bill
- real life examples showing people who have reduced their inheritance tax bill
- details of which of your assets will attract inheritance tax and which assets will not
- simple tips on how to ensure you pass on more of your estate to your family rather than the tax man
Step 3 - Get a cheap will via a Charity scheme
Now you are ready to get a will written or updated. Usually solicitors will charge between £150 and £200 to do it for you but there are cheaper ways to get a will written or updated.
Each November Will Aid gives everyone the opportunity to put their affairs in order by offering a free will writing service. Participating solicitors are invite people to book an appointment in November and get a basic will prepared or updated without being charged a fee. They can also advise you on the use of any of the ideas detailed in the aforementioned guide. All that is asked in return is that clients consider making a voluntary donation to Will Aid.
The money raised is shared by nine UK charities that carry out life-changing work in the UK and around the world. The nine charities are British Red Cross, NSPCC, ActionAid, Age UK, Christian Aid, Sightsavers, Save the Children, SCIAF (Scotland) and Trocaire (N.Ireland).
Other charity based schemes include Free Wills Month. This runs every March and October and anyone over age 55 can get a free will in exchange for a charitable donation.
Step 4 - Alternatively use a cheap online will writing service
If one of the above charity based schemes are not available Which? run an online will writing service. They charge from just £57 for a single will making them one of the cheapest online will writing services. For an additional charge they also offer a service whereby a legal expert checks your DIY will.
(photo by fantasista via freedigitalphotos.net)