You might feel confident writing it yourself, but be careful.
For a will to be valid, you need to meet certain conditions. It's easy to make a mistake, so be sure you are familiar with the rules. If in doubt speak to an expert.
Watch this video - Writing a will - from the Money Advice Service.
There are three main options to choose from
- Use a solicitor
- Use a will-writing service
- Do it yourself (including the MOD Will form)
Read on to decide which is best for you – then pick one and get started. But whatever you do, don’t do nothing.
Money fitness tip
Tell your family where your will is stored and also update your details on JPA.
The main will-writing options
Use a solicitor to write your will
Solicitors are the experts – they know their stuff, and they should write you a watertight will that does exactly what you want it to. It’s the most expensive option, but it will give you most peace of mind, especially if your affairs are complex.
You should definitely consider a solicitor if:
- Your estate may have to pay Inheritance Tax (currently, you might have to pay if your estate’s value (including property) is more than £325,000
- You’ve got a complex family situation, like former partners or estranged children, and you want to be sure that your estate can be divided as you wish
- You want to protect someone’s interests after you’ve gone, like a disabled family member
- You want to talk through the options with an expert or you need some support you can trust
Expect to pay: A single will drawn up by a solicitor could cost between £144 and £240. A joint will for couples could cost between £150 and £300. Make sure the cost you're quoted includes additional costs such as VAT.
If your affairs are complex, such as involving trusts or overseas properties, it can cost between £500 to £600, according to Which?
Some solicitors offer discounts for members of the Armed Forces – why not ask, or check the Defence Discount Service for the latest deals from solicitors. For more information see Using a solicitor.
Use a will-writing service
This is a cheaper option than a solicitor, and offers a fair amount of support and advice, but it’s very much a case of getting what you pay for.
If you’re deciding between a will writer and a solicitor, remember that:
- Your will writer won’t necessarily be legally qualified
- Will-writing services may not have been trading as long as many solicitors’ firms – important if you also want them to store your will
- Will writers aren’t regulated in the same way as solicitors, so there’s less comeback for you if things go wrong – so try and use a will writer who’s a member of a professional organisation
Expect to pay: around £75 and upwards. Extra services, like looking after your will, are often quoted separately. These costs can add up.
Many charities offer free will-writing services but they do hope for a donation. Some are only available to the over 55s and some may not be available near where you live.
For more information, read about cheap and free wills on the MoneySavingExpert website.
For more information see Will-writing services - pros and cons.
don't put it off!
No-one wants to think about the worst happening but you are not MoneyFit if you don’t have a will.
Write your own will
The cheapest – and perhaps riskiest way – to write a will is to do it yourself. You can buy templates online or at stationers’ shops. Alternatively, use the MOD Will form.
This is only really a suitable option if your affairs are very simple. For example if you’re married or in a civil partnership, and have children, and you want to leave everything to the survivor of you on the first death, and your children in, say, equal shares on the second.
The template should show you what you need to do to make sure that it is signed, dated and witnessed properly, and that your old wills are revoked. It is important to follow these rules, otherwise there is a risk that your home-made will will be invalid.
The law about inheritances and how they’re taxed can be complex, and things might change between when you write your will and when you die. That makes it risky to write your own will without any advice at all. But you can do it if you want to.
Expect to pay: The MOD Will form is free (but only suitable for basic wills). Other options can cost as little as £10 for a basic template. For more information see DIY wills - what you need to know.