To learn how to make an affordable legal Will is very important, if you have any assets. Because if you don’t, then your assets could go to someone you don’t want them to, or even worse, to the government. Who likely will not use the money on things that you agree with. Many people die intestate (without a Will) and it often leaves a financial mess behind. Bob Marley and Amy Winehouse both died without leaving a Will, which resulted in years of legal wrangling, with the only beneficiaries being the lawyers.
If you have a large estate and can afford a professional solicitor, then likely you will wish to make a Will this way. But for the millions of people who can’t afford this, what can you do? There are some major charities that will offer a free Will-making service. But often these charities only help, if you decide to give a huge chunk of money to them, so if you prefer to donate to small ethical charities, it’s not much help. IFAW (animal welfare charity) offers free Wills for regular givers.
So the best way to make an affordable legally-binding Will is to use one of the new online services. Never use those stationary kits from WH Smith. They are not worth the paper they are written on. To be legally binding, a Will must pass Probate, which means that it must pass all the legal checks. Otherwise if you leave your legacy to an animal shelter (as do many in England), relatives could successfully overturn it.
Good Affordable Online Wills
- Farewill offers simple individual Wills (or Mirror Wills for couples), all checked legally, before being sent to you for signing. Find two executors (who must not be beneficiaries) to say you of sound mind, before securely storing it somewhere.
- ProperWills offers a simple online Will questionnaire, with all Wills reviewed by their legal team and ready in a few days (insured up to £2m). You also have the option to leave money to take care of your pets. Includes full signing instructions when sent.
- Legal Wills also offers a solicitor-approved online Will writing service. Follow the simple instructions, find help along the way and save hundreds of pounds in solicitor fees, and make unlimited updates.
- Which offers an online Will writing service. Just complete the questionnaire, return the document and find expert help.
Remember that once your Will is made, you must update it if your circumstances change, such as if you get married, get divorced or if someone dies. If you have any Codicils (add-on wishes like providing money for pets), then keep this with the Will.
Make a Pet Trust
You can’t legally leave money to pets, but you can leave money to others, to provide for them. Cinnamon Trust can often find homes after you die, if you contact them in advance. Same goes for any information like if you have a Dog’s Trust Canine Card (that finds homes for pets, after you die). Remember to include a Codicil with useful information like likes and dislikes, medical information and other important points. Barker Evans has a useful post on how to set up a pet trust.