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What’s stopping so many of us from making a will?

Old-fashioned will

Have you got round to making a will yet? If you have, you’re in the minority, because around 60% of us don’t have one. Will a national month dedicated to wills give us the inspiration we so desperately need?

This month is National Make a Will Month. You might groan at the thought of another ‘special month’ – I usually do – but I can see the theory behind this one.

The figures speak for themselves – around 40% of people have written a will, with only 11% of single folk doing so. Clearly, many of us still need a nudge (or even a kick) in the right direction.

Finding the right will service

‘Making a will’ has been one of those must-do-but-never-quite-get-around-to items on my mind for years. I’m in my second owned property and I have a child, yet I’m still too damn lazy to get around to it. Part of the problem for me is knowing where to start. How do you find a service you trust to help you draw it up properly?

We raised this question back in August when our Money Editor, James Daley, drew attention to some of the worrying practices going on in the banking sector. ‘If you go and see RBS/Natwest or HSBC to get your will drawn up, they’ll insist on writing themselves in as the executor, or joint executor,’ he warned. ‘For this privilege, they will take up to 4% of your estate. For many families, this translates into a five-figure bill.”

Ok, I can’t boast to have that kind of estate to pass on, but it still puts me off the option of making a will through a bank. Of course, there are will services that take the stress out of the situation – our own Which? Wills service is a painless process, integrating an online questionnaire and telephone support from wills solicitors.

What’s Make a Will Month about?

Will Aid has a similar idea, only it’s using National Make a Will Month to tempt us will-less 60% off our backsides with the idea of a freebie. The argument is that, if it’s cost putting you off doing your will, there’s no excuse during November.

Instead of charging their usual fee, Will Aid solicitors suggest you make a donation that will be passed on to charity. So, as long as you’re prepared for them to ask for a donation (£75 for a single will or £110 for a pair of mirror wills) it seems like a win-win situation.

Some of you have already taken advantage of Will Aid in years gone by, going by your responses to James’ Conversation. Hilary said she paid £75 a couple of years ago, and Julia Lloyd did the same. ‘ The solicitor was very helpful in simplifying what I was trying to say and drew up a very clear “basic” will, which is fine for me as my wishes are very straightforward,’ she said.

So, if you don’t want a long-lost (and not-missed) cousin looting your lot – or worse, the state getting hold of it, isn’t now the perfect month to make the effort?

Sophie Gilbert says:
12 November 2010

Making a will is the sensible thing to do, but it means accepting, in writing, that we are mortal. This is simply too big a psychological step for 60% of us to take…